Cell Biology A


The objective of this curricular unit is to provide description of the functioning of living cells, and of how their functions are related to: (i) the internal organization and structure of the cells; (ii) cell-cell and cell-extracellular communication. It is expected that upon its completion, the students will be able to:

  • identify similarities and differences between the different types of cells;
  • describe how proteins are synthesized from DNA and how the underlying processes are controlled;
  • identify the different organelles in eukaryotic cells and describe their functions;
  • compare the structure and function of the components of the cytoskeleton in eukaryotic cells;
  • know how proteins and membranes are transported within a living cell;
  • know the main concepts underlying cell cycle and cell division, cell signaling, and cellular adhesion;
  • analyze results of experiments related with the themes of this curricular unit.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Luís Jaime Gomes Ferreira da Silva Mota


Weekly - 4

Total - 60

Teaching language



Available soon


Molecular Biology of the Cell, B. Alberts, A. Johnson, J. Lewis, M. Raff, K. Roberts, P. Walter, 6th edition, 2015, Garland Science, Taylor&Francis Group, New York.

Essential Cell Biology, Bruce Alberts, Karen Hopkin, Alexander Johnson, David Morgan, Martin Raff, Keith Roberts, Peter Walter, 5th Edition, 2019, W. W. Norton & Company, New York and London.

Biologia Celular e Molecular, C. Azevedo e C. E. Sunkel, 5th edition, 2012, Edições Lidel, Lisboa.

Slides from the lectures and list of problems from the problem-solving sessions (provided by the lecturer)

Teaching method

Lectures and problem-solving sessions to all subjects, through oral / multimedia exposure:

 - theoretical classes (2h) at a distance, via Zoom, for discussion of topics, based on materials (videos, slides, texts) previously provided. Quizzes in Moodle.

 - theoretical-practical classes (2h), in person, with discussion of quizzes to solve problems and other discussions.

Evaluation method

- Continuous evaluation:

i) Evaluation by written tests. Three individual and closed-book written tests, based on lectures and on problem-solving sessions. The grades (0-20) will de disclosed to one decimal place. The weighted mean of the grades from the3 tests will correspond to 65% of the final grade. There is no minimal grade for each of the tests, but the mean of the grades from the 3 tests must be ≥ 9.5. 

ii) Evaluation of weekly assignments and of the presence and participation in the problem-solving sessions. From 0-20. Minimal grade of 10. Corresponds to 15% of the final grade.

iii) Evaluation of project/seminar. Written essay about a cell biology research topic to be prepared in group. From 0-20 (0-3 self-evaluation; 0-17, evaluation by the lecturer. Minimal grade of 10. Corresponds to 20% of the final grade.

- The final mark (0-20) will be the weighted average of the three written tests (65%), of the evaluation in the problem-solving sessions (15%), and of the evaluation of the project/seminar (20%). For its calculation, the weighted average will be rounded to the nearest integer. 

- Approval at the curricular unit requires a weighted average of at least 10 (i.e., 9.5).

- If the evaluation is by a final exam, the grade will be the weighted average of the exam (65%), and of the evaluation of the problem-solving sessions (15%) and of the project/seminar (20%), rounded to the nearest integer.  

- The final exam will cover all topics taught: it is not possible to repeat only one of the tests.

- To be accepted at the final exam, the students cannot miss > 2/3 of the problem-solving sessions and must present the written essay. Furthermore, the evaluation of the participation in the problem-solving sessions and of the written essay must be positive (i.e., > 10). If this exigence is accomplished this year (2022/2023) it will still be valid within the next 5 years. 

- The students who formally work are not obliged to be present in a minimum number of problem-solving sessions and are not subject to evaluation in the problem-solving sessions. However, they need to accomplish the written essay/presentation with positive evaluation. In these exceptional cases, the final mark will be the weighted mean of the grades obtained in the tests or of the exam (65%) and the grade of the evaluation by project (20%), divided by 0.85. 

Subject matter

Organization and function of living cells. Eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells. Composition and function of cellular membranes. Function of cell organelles and essential cell processes: nuclear organization; DNA replication; DNA transcription; synthesis of proteins; mitochondria and chloroplasts; peroxisomes; endoplasmic reticulum; Golgi; lysosomes and endosomes. Intracellular transport: nuclear, transmembrane and vesicular. Cytoskeleton and molecular motors. Cell signalling. Cell cycle and cell division. Cell death. Extracellular matrix and cellular adhesion. 


Programs where the course is taught: