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Welcome to CDB!

Lectures are at 10am-11am (Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday) and take place in the Biffen Lecture Theatre. Practicals are at 11am-2pm and 2pm-5pm (Tuesday and Friday) and normally take place in the CDB Lab in Zoology. There may be some slight variations to the timetable, so students are advised to keep an eye on Moodle and emails for updates.

If you are a Part IA student and interested in taking Part IB Cell and Developmental Biology (CDB), please take a look at the Part IB Subject Fair Moodle site. For more information, see the publicity posters below:




Aims of the Course

The Cell and Developmental Biology course is taught by the Departments of Biochemistry, Genetics, Plant Sciences and Zoology. It can be taken in combination with any other subject in Part IB of the Natural Sciences Tripos, except Materials Science with which it clashes in the Lecture Timetable. The CDB course is a natural follow up to IA Biology of Cells, building as it does on the knowledge of elementary cell biology provided by the first year course. CDB provides a framework for further specialised study of molecular, cellular and developmental biology in the third year, including Part II Genetics, Plant Sciences, Zoology, Biochemistry (for which it is a qualifying course as an alternative to IB BMB), and Physiology Neuroscience & Behaviour (PNB). It is an excellent foundation for the majority of Part II Biological subjects.

Objectives of the Course

By the end of the course, students should have a knowledge of:

● The cell biology of all major groups of organisms, including microorganisms, plants and animals;
● The structure and function of cellular organelles including nuclei, endomembrane system, mitochondria and chloroplasts;
● How genome organisation differs in the major groups of organisms;
● The complex interactions between nucleus and cytoplasm that determine how cells function;
● Basic concepts of how cells become specialised into different types in complex organisms;
● How the cytoskeleton is organised and its role in cellular function.

You should also have an understanding of:
● The different experimental approaches used for the study of cell structure and function;
● How these approaches can be applied to specific problems in cell biology;
● How to carry out and interpret simple experiments in cell biology.


Moodle and Course Handbook

Online resources, including the course handbook, are provided through the Moodle Site. You will automatically be subscribed to this site as part of the NST subject choice procedures but if you join the course after the start of term, send an email to  requesting that you are added to the course. You will need to use your Raven ID and password to log onto Moodle, which you will also be able to access during the vacation.


Committee and Student Reps

The course is run by a Management Committee, consisting of the lecturers in the course. The committee decides broadly on the content of lectures and practicals, and has the responsibility for organising and delivering these. The day-to-day running of the course is devolved to a small section of the Committee, who act as course organisers. This group meets with student representatives (chosen by you) and lecturers at the end of every term (the Consultative Committee) to look at the results of questionnaire returns and find out your views about the course. Please use the student representatives to feed back any comments that you have about the course to the CDB Management Committee!

The course is revised on a yearly basis in the light of comments made by you in online questionnaires and by your representatives on the Consultative Committee, which meets each Term.

The minutes of Consultative Committee meetings and analysis of student questionnaires can be accessed from the Cell and Developmental Biology Moodle site.