Cells to Systems: Big Questions in Biology

Curriculum Focus

This elective science involves the study of various organisms’ form and function through addressing a series of big questions in biology. There is a focus on the human body in terms of how it should function, what can impair function, and strategies to prevent or treat impairment, however, other organisms are studied as well. This course will provide a foundational understanding of anatomy and physiology, whilst exposing students to current research taking place at Monash University and around the world.

An example of the course units that may be covered is:

• Development and Decline of the Human Body (this includes cells to systems of the human body and what can go wrong, transmissible diseases and their effects, and mental and physical disorders that can develop over time as people age).

• Defence Against the Dark Arts - this includes exploring various poisons, toxins and venoms in terms of how they are used by organisms and their effects on cells and systems. We also cover cancer and chemotherapy, antibiotics and parasite adaptations.

• Adapting to Extremes - this topic explores the various mechanisms that organisms have developed over time to be able to survive in extreme environments and explores how we may need to evolve to be able to do so.

Underlying these units is a key understanding of cell function, signalling, and reproduction as well as the organisation of cells into tissues, organs and systems. Students will also consider scientific discovery within a historical and cultural context.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this subject, students will have an understanding of:

The development and decline over time of a human body, how chemotherapy targets cancer, how antibiotics interact with bacteria, how different organisms detect and defend against various attacks or generate those attacks;

Working productively in small groups and researching effectively;

Carrying out scientific procedures, accurately recording data and analysing results;

Communicating scientifically, including in written, visual and oral presentations.