Academic Year 2023/2024 - Teacher: Cinzia Santa DI PIETRO

Expected Learning Outcomes

The course aims to provide the information to understand the general principles on which life is based. The main objectives are the knowledge of the chemical and molecular basis of life, the study of the structures and functions of cells, the fundamental mechanisms of the transmission of genetic information, the principles of development and differentiation, and finally a general knowledge of the kingdoms of living beings.

The main knowledge acquired by the student will be

- the learning of the chemical and molecular bases of life, and the application of this knowledge to the study of the structure and functions of the prokaryotic and eukaryotic cell

- learning the basic mechanisms of duplication, transmission and expression of gene information

-the understanding of the fundamental mechanisms of development, differentiation and communication between cells.

-learning general notions about the Kingdoms of the living

- the development of the ability to communicate the information acquired through correct terminology

- the development of the ability to present the relevant information in a synthetic and clear way, by a logical and critical analysis.

Course Structure

The course is organized in 42 hours of frontal teaching through lectures with the aid of slides and videos


If the teaching is given in mixed or remote mode, some necessary changes could be introduced with respect to what was previously stated, in order to comply the program foreseen and reported in the syllabus.

Required Prerequisites

The student must have acquired the basic knowledge in the field of Biology provided by the normal high school curricula.

Attendance of Lessons

Mandatory attendance. Attendance of the course is required for at least 70% of the lessons to be admitted to the final exam of the course.


Detailed Course Content

Introduction to biology and methods of studying life. Origin of life and subdivision of the living. Prokaryotes and Eukaryotes. General information on the chemistry of living beings: carbohydrates and lipids, amino acids and proteins, nucleotides and nucleic acids. Eubacteria and Archaea. Origin of the eukaryotic cell: the animal and plant cell. Organelles of eukaryotes and biological entities of complex classification. Cell membranes and membrane transport. The eukaryotic nucleus and the structure of the eukaryotic chromosome. DNA structure and replication. Transmission of genetic information: the genetic code and transcription. Ribosomes, translation and protein synthesis. Control of gene expression: post-transcriptional and post-translational modifications. The cytoskeleton and intracellular communication. Cell cycle, mitosis and meiosis. Mitochondria and the mitochondrial genome. Communication between cells: signal transduction. Apoptosis. Stem cells. Basics of Mendelian genetics.

Textbook Information

Hillis et al., Fondamenti di Biologia - Zanichelli

Savada et al., Elementi di Biologia e Genetica - Zanichelli

De Leo et al., Biologia e Genetica - Edises

Ultime edizioni disponibili

Course Planning

 SubjectsText References
1Biological moleculesHillis et al., Savada et al. De leo et al.
2Origin of the life and living being classificationHillis et al., Savada et al. De leo et al.
3Origin of EukaryotesHillis et al., Savada et al. De leo et al.
4Cell membranes and membrane transportHillis et al., Savada et al. De leo et al.
5Nucleous and chromosomesHillis et al., Savada et al. De leo et al.
6DNA structure and replicationHillis et al., Savada et al. De leo et al.
7RNA transcription and maturationHillis et al., Savada et al. De leo et al.
8Ribosome, tRNA, and protein translationHillis et al., Savada et al. De leo et al.
9Cytoskeleton and comunication inside the cellHillis et al., Savada et al. De leo et al.
10Cell cycle, mitosis and meiosisHillis et al., Savada et al. De leo et al.
11MitochondriaHillis et al., Savada et al. De leo et al.
12Signal transductionHillis et al., Savada et al. De leo et al.
13ApoptosisHillis et al., Savada et al. De leo et al.
14Stem CellsHillis et al., Savada et al. De leo et al.
15Basics of mendelian geneticsHillis et al., Savada et al. De leo et al.

Learning Assessment

Learning Assessment Procedures

Verification of learning will take place through a written exam:  with multiple choice and open-ended tests.

Once the written exam has been passed, the student can also decide to take an oral exam to perfect the final grade.

Information for students with disabilities and / or SLD

To guarantee equal opportunities and in compliance with the laws in force, interested students can ask for a personal interview in order to plan any compensatory and / or dispensatory measures, based on the didactic objectives and specific needs. It is also possible to contact the CInAP contact person (Center for Active and Participatory Integration - Services for Disabilities and / or SLD) of the Department of Biomedical and Biotechnological Sciences.

Examples of frequently asked questions and / or exercises

Where do lysosomes originate from?

A.            From the endoplasmic reticulum

B.             From the plasma membrane

C.             From the cis face of the Golgi Apparatus

D.            From the trans face of the Golgi apparatus

E.             From the nuclear membrane



Which of the following molecules can act as a cell-to-cell signal receptor?

A.            Cholesterol

B.             Proteins

C.             Sphingolipids

D.            Nucleic acids

E.             Glycolipids



Under physiological conditions, how many chromosomes does a human cell have under diploidy conditions? (0.5)

A.            It depends on the cell.

B.             72

C.             23

D.            46

E.             54