Summer 2019 - MBB 839 G100

Special Topics in Molecular Biology (3)

Cells & the Environment

Class Number: 5242

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    May 6 – Aug 2, 2019: Thu, 1:30–5:20 p.m.



Consideration of recent literature concerning selected contemporary research topics. Can be taken more than once with permission of instructor.


The cellular processes at the interface of cells and the environment will be explored in-depth. Through the use of lectures and group discussions and an emphasis on the primary literature, the focus will be on recent developments in molecular cell biology through the study of symbiosis and adaptation.


This course is an exploration into the cellular processes underlying special adaptations in the lives of single-celled eukaryotes (and a few prokaryotes). The course relies on reading primary literature and will consist of overview lectures and class discussions in which we will critically analyze current research papers. A primary goal of the course is to strengthen student ability to read the current literature critically and with perspective. Students will be expected to read up to 2 papers per week, and be prepared to present them in class or discuss them in an informal setting. A background in genetics, developmental and molecular biology is required. We will focus on a few topics and will explore them in depth, emphasizing recent developments.



  • Term Paper 30%
  • Presentations 50%
  • Participation 20%



We will read review articles and primary research papers. A basic cell biology textbook may be useful as a refresher on certain topics.

Graduate Studies Notes:

Important dates and deadlines for graduate students are found here: The deadline to drop a course with a 100% refund is the end of week 2. The deadline to drop with no notation on your transcript is the end of week 3.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University.