Foundations of biology

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The aim of the course is to give the student the basis of life organization at the level of molecules, cells, tissues, organisms, and the principal concepts of developmental biology and environmental related evolutionary developmental biology.
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of the course the student will acquire the basic knowledge of general biology and will be able to understand the various notions in a transversal way, in order to use knowledge and understanding in a critical way in the courses they will provide in the following years and whenever it is necessary critical analysis of biota and its interactions with both biotic and abiotic environments. The transversal approach of the topics applied to practical topics is managed by the student of activities competences that must be used in the future study and in the future work activity.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First semester
Lectures will be done online using TEAMS, Ariel or other similar platforms; practical exercises in laboratory and classroom, considering emergency security items, will be at the University (with alternative online lessons). Moments of discussion will be both at the University and online.
Course syllabus
Basics of biology: life characterizing molecules and structures. Carbohydrates, lipids, nucleic acids and proteins: structure and functions. The cell and its role as functional unit. Virus, prokaryote and eukaryote basic organization. Hints on eukaryote diversity: protists, fungi, animals and plants.
Membranes, cytoskeleton and cell organelles: structure and functions.
Hints on living- environment relationships: nutrients, energy, homeostasis.
Genetic and epigenetic basis of the phenotypic heredity. Genetic code and chromatin. From DNA code to proteins. Epigenetic regulation of transcription. Translation control and microRNA. Post translational protein modification.
Cell cycle. Binary scission, mitosis, meiosis. Differential genetic expression and differentiation in relation to the environment.
Hints on developmental biology and developmental evolutionary biology related to the environment.
Prerequisites for admission
No specific knowledge requested even if a good comprehension of the basic scientific language is essential.
Teaching methods
Lectures, practical exercises, moments of discussion on topical issues related to biology.
Teaching Resources
Raven et al. Biology, McGraw-Hill Education
Sadava et al LIFE: The Science of Biology, WH Freeeman & Co
Curtis et al. Invitation to Biology, Freeman & Co.
Russell et al. Biology, Thomson Ed.
Dalle Donne et al. Istologia, EdiSES.
Gilbert- Barresi. Developmental Biology, Sinauer.
Assessment methods and Criteria
There will be a written examination followed by an oral examination. The exam will focus on the in-depth discussion of the fundamental topics of the course and will evaluate the ability to connect, the appropriateness of the scientific language and the ability to synthesize the various topics covered in class and in practical exercitations. The mark is expressed in thirtieths.The minimum mark to take the oral examination is 16/30. The minimum sufficient mark is 18/30. In the case of emergency or for valid reason, the examination will be exclusively in the oral form.
Practicals: 32 hours
Lessons: 56 hours
Professor: Menegola Elena
Educational website(s)