The University of Newcastle, Australia
Available in 2020

Course handbook


The complete sequencing of numerous plant genomes has opened a new era of plant cell and molecular biology. This course provides an overview of the dynamics of plant cell organisation and current understanding of subcellular structure and function at the molecular level. Plant cell and molecular biology is particularly concerned with cell signalling and the genomic regulation of cellular processes in plant growth and development, and in response to stress. Plant genetic engineering is an important tool for utilising genomic information for understanding plant processes and for practical application in plant improvement. Plant cells are totipotent, having the ability to produce an entire new plant, and it is this capacity which greatly facilitates genetic engineering in plants. Mechanisms of plant genetic engineering, functional genomics, molecular genetics and the molecular responses of a plant to stress are the topics that are the focus of this course, and are presented using a thematic approach.

Availability2020 Course Timetables


  • Semester 1 - 2020

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Explain the dynamics of plant cell structure and function;

2. Describe genomic regulation of plant cellular processes, growth and development, and plant-microbe interactions;

3. Apply molecular knowledge to plant cell function and plant biotechnology;

4. Use genomic data bases in problem solving;

5. Outline the process of transgenesis & its application;

6. Evaluate the scientific literature and communicate findings to an audience.


There are six major topics:

1. Dynamics of plant cell organisation –  cytoskeleton and cell wall dynamics

2. Cell signalling systems in plants

3. Plant molecular genetics and plant gene expression regulation

4. Mechanisms of plant transformation for genetic engineering              

5. Functional genomics and gene identification strategies

6. Molecular responses to biotic and abiotic stress in plants

Assumed knowledge

BIOL2010, BIOL2050

Assessment items

Quiz: On-line Quizzes

Presentation: Oral Presentation

Formal Examination: Exam

Contact hours



Face to Face On Campus 3 hour(s) per Week for 8 Weeks


Face to Face On Campus 1 hour(s) per Week for 8 Weeks

Seminar time is for student presentations.


Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for 8 Weeks