Molecular and Cellular Biology


This UC aims to teach in an integrated manner human molecular and cell biology. This course provides students with a fundamental knowledge that is the basis for the understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms that are important for the study of human biology and of the biology of nutrition. The overall objective of the course is materialized in the acquisition of the following theoretical knowledge and practical skills; To understand how the cells that form the human body work, how they are organized internally, and what are the functions of the molecules that constitute them; To know how cell signaling, communication and differentiation processes work; To understand the molecular and cellular processes involved in production, utilization and degradation of biomolecules; To identify and characterize different cell types that exist in the human body and understand their functions; Understand the relevance of the molecular and cellular mechanisms for the study if nutrition.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Prof. Doutor José Belo


Weekly - Available soon

Total - Available soon

Teaching language





• Alberts, Bruce et al.; Molecular Biology of the Cell; 5ª ou 6ª edição;  Garland Garland Science,  Taylor & Francis group.
• Lodish, Harvey et al.; Molecular Cell Biology; 6º ou 7º Edição; W. H. Freeman and Company.
• Azevedo, Carlos e Sunkel, Claudio; Biologia Celular e Molecular; 5ª Edição; Lidel Edições Técnicas Lda.
• Quintas, Alexandre et al; Bioquímica-Organização Molecular da Vida. Lidel Edições Técnicas Lda.

Teaching method

The course is organized in lectures and practical classes: 2 weekly lectures for all students with a duration of 50 min each; 1 practical class per week of 2 hrs, in classes with a maximum of 15 students.

Evaluation method

The evaluation has a practical component and a final exam, both graded from 0 to 20. The assessment of the practicals is continuous, corresponds to 25% of the final grade, and takes into account the following criteria: performance and attendance of students; quality of the practical reports; attitude and knowledge demonstrated by the students; and one practical test. The final exam is 75% of the final grade, it is a multiple choice written exam, and is covers all the theoretical and practical topics taught. The presence in the examination is conditional to attendance to at least 2/3 of the practical classes and a practical grade of at least 9.5.

Subject matter

Lectures (28 hrs)
Molecular and cell biology in life sciences; Molecular and cell biology techniques; Protein structure and function; Membrane structure and function; Membrane transport; Nuclear structure; DNA replication and repair; DNA transcription and RNA processing; Protein synthesis and sorting; Intracellular compartments and vesicular traffic; Degradations and recycling of biomolecules; Cell organelles, mitochondria and chloroplasts; Cell signalling and communication; Cell adhesion and extracellular matrix; Cell cycle; Stem cells and cell differentiation; Cell movement; Cell senescence and apoptosis.

Practicals (28 hrs)
Cell fractioning; Protein electrophoresis and chromatography; Enzymatic activity; Chromosomal DNA extraction; Organelle identification using microscopy methods; Cell culture; Case studies on cell function and cell signalling.


Programs where the course is taught: