2010 Lecture 1

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Cork Bark by Robert Hooke 1665

Cell Biology Course


This lecture will have two main parts. The first will introduce the current 2010 course structure, content and evaluation. ANAT3231_Cell_Biology The second part, shown below, will give an introduction some of the historic background of cell biology as a branch of science and its current place in scientific research. Neutrophil Movie

Dr Mark Hill (2010)


Movie - Neutrophil chasing Bacterium

Lecture Audio

The University has a system for automated recording of lectures called Lectopia. Lectopia requires login using your student number and unipass. I will be adding the link to each iLecture Audio following the Lecture. Due to the automated recording method, most lectures begin 4-5 minutes into MP3 recordings and occasionally stop before the end of the lecture.

iLecture 01 - 09 Mar 2010 - 10:00am


  • Introduction to the Course
  • Understand Historic Background of Cell Biology
  • Understand current role of Cell Biology in scientific research
  • Brief understanding of Cell Structure and Function

Introduction to the Course

Essential Cell Biology (3rd ed.)

Welcome to Cell Biology 2010!

I will spend some at the beginning of today's lecture introducing the course, its assessment, online support and content before giving you a brief introduction to the history of Cell Biology.

This year we will have some guest research lecturers, Prof Peter Gunning and Dr Thomas Fath who will be covering topics on the cell cytoskeleton and a laboratory based upon research techniques.

You should look through the handout Exploring the Cell in relation to this first lecture.

Early History

Cork Bark by Robert Hooke 1665
  • Robert Hooke (1635-1703)
    • used early microscopes to view cork tree bark
    • was the first to use the term CELL
  • Robert Brown 1825
    • identified nuclei in plant cells
  • Theodor Schwann (1810 - 1882)
    • together with Matthias Schleiden (plants) developed the cell theory in 1839

Cell Theory

    • All organisms consist of one or more cells
    • The cell is the basic unit of structure for all cells
    • All cells arise only from preexisting cells

Cell Sizes

  • 1000 micron (1mm) diameter - frog or fish egg are the largest individual cells easily visible,
  • 100 micron diameter - human or sea urchin egg
  • 30 x 20 micron - plant cells
  • 20 micron diameter - typical somatic cell
  • 2 x 1 micron - bacteria
   A micron or micrometre is one millionth of a metre. (1 x 10-6)


Cork cells today (sem)
  • Cells are too small to see by the naked eye
  • Antony van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723) - developed some of the earliest microscopes
  • Modern Microscopes
    • Bright Field, Fluorescence, Phase Contrast, Dark Field, Differential Interference, Digital Video Microscopy, Confocal, 2 photon confocal, spinning disc confocal, total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF)
  • Electron Microscope (EM)
    • Transmission, scanning, scanning tunneling
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

(MH - This topic will also be covered in your laboratory.)

Modern Cell Biology

  • Arose from 3 separate fields becoming interwoven over the last 50 years - Cytology, Biochemistry and Genetics


  • Oldest branch
  • Dependent on optical techniques
  • 1870 invention of microtome for sectioning biological specimens
  • Light Microscope


  • 1828 Freidrich Wohler showed urea synthesis from ammonium and cyanate (organic compounds synthesized from inorganic compounds)
  • biological chemistry (biochemistry) the same as all other chemistry
  • 1868 Louis Pasteur shows yeast cells needed for fermentation of sugar into alcohol (living organisms for specific chemical processes)
  • 1897 Hans Buchner shows that extract from yeast cells also works (enzymes)
  • 1920’s-30’s Biochemical pathways (glycolysis, Krebs cycle (TCA), ATP for energy)


  • 1866 Gregor Mendel hereditary factors (genes) and segregation (took 35 years before work recognised)
  • 1876 Walther Flemming identified chromosomes
  • 1900 Walter Sutton chromosome theory of inheritence
  • 1944 Avery et al. genetic transformation in Bacteria)
  • 1953 James Watson and Francis Crick double helix model


Cell Biology Tools

(MH - Covered in the laboratories of this course)

  • Microscopy - different types of microscopy
  • Histology/Immunohistochemistry - fixation and staining of cells
  • Biochemical - fractionation and analysis
  • Tissue Culture - growth and modification of cells

American Society for Cell Biology


Free online Cell Biology Seminars from ASCB



Search Online Textbooks

External Links

2010 Course Content

Lectures: Cell Biology Introduction | Cells Eukaryotes and Prokaryotes | Cell Membranes and Compartments | Cell Nucleus | Cell Export - Exocytosis | Cell Import - Endocytosis | Cell Mitochondria | Cell Junctions | Cytoskeleton Introduction | Cytoskeleton 1 Intermediate Filaments | Cytoskeleton 2 Microtubules | Cytoskeleton 3 Microfilaments | Extracellular Matrix 1 | Extracellular Matrix 2 | Cell Cycle | Cell Division | Cell Death 1 | Cell Death 2 | Signal 1 | Signal 2 | Stem Cells 1 | Stem Cells 2 | Development | Revision

Laboratories: Introduction to Lab | Microscopy Methods | Preparation/Fixation | Immunochemistry | Cell Knockout Methods | Cytoskeleton Exercise | Confocal Microscopy | Microarray Visit | Tissue Culture 1 | Tissue Culture 2 | Stem Cells Lab | Stem Cells Analysis

Dr Mark Hill 2015, UNSW Cell Biology - UNSW CRICOS Provider Code No. 00098G