Please note: Syllabi change from semester to semester and therefore, please only use them as a guide and not a definitive list of topics covered by a course in future semesters.
Course tutoring: The department seldom hires undergraduate tutors for MCB courses, but interested students should contact Carina Galicia (Interim Director of Student Services) to inquire on opportunities and timelines.
MCB C100A: Biophysical Chemistry: Physical Principles and the Molecules of Life (4 units; Syllabus) (Cross-listed with Chem C130)
Prerequisites: Chem 3A or Chem112A, Math 1A, Bio 1A/1AL. Chem 3B or Chem 112B recommended.
Thermodynamic and kinetic concepts applied to understanding the chemistry and structure of biomolecules (proteins, DNA, and RNA). Molecular distributions, reaction kinetics, enzyme kinetics. Bioenergetics, energy transduction, and motor proteins. Electrochemical potential, membranes, and ion channels. (F,Sp)
MCB 100B: Biochemistry: Pathways, Mechanisms, and Regulation (4 units effective Sp14; Syllabus)
Prerequisite: MCB C100A
This course surveys cellular metabolism with a focus on the underlying bioenergetics, mechanisms, and chemistry. Lectures will cover major principles in the biochemistry of metabolism and also highlight selected topics including signaling, transport, metabolic engineering, and human diseases related to metabolic dysfunction. The course is designed for majors in the biochemistry and molecular biology, genetics and development, or immunology emphases. (Sp)
MCB 102: Survey of the Principles of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (4 units; Syllabus Fall / Spring)
Prerequisites: Biology 1A, Chemistry 3B or an equivalent course. Recommended: a course in physical chemistry.
Credit Restriction: Students will receive no credit for 102 after taking 100B or C100A/Chemistry C130 or Chemistry 135.
A comprehensive survey of the fundamentals of biological chemistry, including the properties of intermediary metabolites, the structure and function of biological macromolecules, the logic of metabolic pathways (both degradative and biosynthetic) and the molecular basis of genetics and gene expression. (F,Sp,Su)
MCB C103: Bacterial Pathogenesis (3 units; Syllabus; cross-listed with PH C102 and PMB C103 )
Prerequisites: C100A, 102 or consent of instructor.
This course for upper division and graduate students will explore the molecular and cellular basis of microbial pathogenesis. The course will focus on model microbial systems which illustrate mechanisms of pathogenesis. Most of the emphasis will be on bacterial pathogens of mammals, but there will be some discussion of viral and protozoan pathogens. There will be an emphasis on experimental approaches. The course will also include some aspects of bacterial genetics and physiology, immune response to infection, and the cell biology of host-parasite interactions. Also listed as Public Health C102 and Plant Biology C103. (Sp)
MCB 104: Genetics, Genomics & Cell Biology (4 units; Syllabus Fall / Spring)
Prerequisites: MCB 102
This course will introduce students to key concepts in genetic analysis, eukaryotic cell biology, and state-of-the-art approaches in genomic medicine. Lectures will highlight basic knowledge of cellular processes with the basis for human diseases, particularly cancer. Prerequisite courses will have introduced students to the concepts of cells, the central dogma of molecular biology, and gene regulation. Emphasis in this course will be on eukaryotic cell processes, including cellular organization, dynamics, and signaling. (F,Sp)
MCB 110: Molecular Biology: Macromolecular Synthesis and Cellular Function (4 units; Syllabus)
Prerequisites: C100A (may not be taken concurrently);
Molecular biology and biochemical processes of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells and their viruses. Structure of genes and chromosomes. Mechanisms of DNA replication, repair and recombination. Regulation of gene expression. Transcription, RNA processing, RNA interference. Translation, protein folding and modification. Intracellular trafficking and subcellular compartmentalization. (F,Sp)
MCB C110L: General Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Laboratory (4 units; Syllabus)
Prerequisites: 110 (may be taken concurrently). Experimental techniques of biochemistry and molecular biology, designed to accompany the lectures in 100B and 110. (F,Sp)
MCB C112: General Microbiology (4 units; Syllabus)
Prerequisites: Biology 1A and 1B
This course will explore the molecular bases for physiological and biochemical diversity among members of the two major domains, Bacteria and Archaea. The ecological significance and evolutionary origins of this diversity will be discussed. Molecular, genetic, and structure-function analyses of microbial cell cycles, adaptive responses, metabolic capability, and macromolecular syntheses will be emphasized. Also listed as Plant & Microbial Biology C112. (F,Su)
MCB C112L: General Microbiology Laboratory (2 units; Syllabus Fall / Spring)
Prerequisites: C112 (may be taken concurrently).
Experimental techniques of microbiology designed to accompany the lecture in C112 and C148. The primary emphasis in the laboratory will be on the cultivation and physiological and genetic characterization of bacteria. Laboratory exercises will include the observation, enrichment, and isolation of bacteria from selected environments. Also listed as Plant & Microbial Biology C112L. (F,Sp)
MCB C114: Introduction to Comparative Virology (4 units; Syllabus)
Prerequisites: Introductory chemistry (1A or 3A/3AL-3B or equivalent) and introductory biology (1A/1AL-1B or equivalent) and general biochemistry (100B or equivalent--preferably completed but may be taken concurrently).
Viruses will be considered as infectious agents of bacteria, plants, and animals (vertebrates and invertebrates). Several families of viruses will be compared with respect to biochemical, structural and morphological properties, and strategies of infection and replication. Also listed as Plant Biology C114 and Environ Sci, Policy, and Management C138. (Sp)
MCB 115: Molecular Biology of Animal Viruses (2 units)
Prerequisites: Upper division or graduate status. C100A/Chem C130 or C112 or equivalent.
Structure, reproduction, mutations, and host cell interactions (including pathogenesis) of animal viruses. This upper division and graduate course will broadly survey the strategies that viruses use to propagate in eukaryote cells, with an emphasis on vertebrate systems and disease-causing viruses. We will also discuss host mechanisms of defense against viruses. Graduate students should additionally enroll in 215. 115/215 are taught concurrently. (currently not offered)
MCB C116: Microbial Diversity (3 units; syllabus)
Prerequisites: Upper-division standing. C112 or consent of instructor and organic chemistry (may be taken concurrently).
This course for upper-division and graduate students will broadly survey myriad types of microbial organisms, both procaryote and eucaryote, using a phylogenetic framework to organize the concept of “biodiversity.” Emphasis will be on the evolutionary development of the many biochemical themes, how they mold our biosphere, and the organisms that affect the global biochemistry. Molecular mechanisms that occur in different lineages will be compared and contrasted to illustrate fundamental biological strategies. Graduate students additionally should enroll in C216, Microbial Diversity Workshop. Also listed as Plant & Microbial Biology C116. (Sp)
MCB 118: The Cancer Karyotype: What it is and What it does. (1 unit)
(Note that this course does not fulfill MCB major requirements)
Prerequisites: 102, 104 recommended.
The prevailing mutation theory holds that 3-6 gene mutations convert normal to cancer cells. But, this theory does not explain why cancers: 1) are autonomous and immortal – unlike any conventional mutations; 2) have individual clonal karyotypes and parallel clonal transcriptomes – much like conventional species; 3) Carcinogens generate cancer only after conspicuous latent periods of years to decades – but mutations change phenotypes immediately; 4) are at once clonal and heterogeneous within clonal margins; and 5) form metastatic and drug-resistant subspecies with variant karyotypes. To explain these unexplained characteristics, this course tests a new theory that carcinogenesis is a form of speciation. (F,Sp) Duesberg.
MCB 130: Cell & Systems Biology (4 units; Syllabus)
Prerequisites: 102 and 104.
This course will provide a detailed discussion of a wide range of topics in cell biology emphasizing experimental approaches and key experiments that have provided important insights. The course is aimed at conveying an understanding of how cellular structure and function arise as a result of the properties of cellular macromolecules. An emphasis will be placed on the dynamic nature of cellular organization and will include a description of physical properties of cells (dimensions, concepts of free energy, diffusion, biophysical properties). Students will be introduced to quantitative aspects of cell biology and a view of cellular function that is based on integrating multiple pathways and modes of regulation (systems biology). (Sp) (more detailed description, including syllabus)
MCB 132: Biology of Human Cancer (4 units; Syllabus)
Prerequisites: Biology 1A, 1AL, 1B and MCELLBI 102; MCELLBI 110 or 104 (may be taken concurrently)
The course is designed for students interested in learning about the molecular and cell biology of cancer and how this knowledge is being applied to the prevention, diagnosis and therapy of cancer. Topics covered include tumor pathology and epidemiology; tumor viruses and oncogenes; intracellular signaling; tumor suppressors; multi-step carcinogenesis and tumor progression; genetic instability in cancer; tumor-host interactions; invasion and metastasis; tumor immunology; cancer therapy. (F)
MCB 133L: Cell Biology & Physiology Laboratory (4 units; Syllabus)
Prerequisites: MCB 102
Experimental analyses of central problems in cell biology and physiology using modern techniques, including DNA cloning and protein biochemistry, fluorescence microscopy of the cytoskeleton and organelles, DNA transfection and cell cycle analysis of cultured mammalian cells, RNA interference and drug treatments to analyze ion channel function in cell contractility and intracellular signaling, and somatosensation. (F,Sp)
MCB C134: Chromosome Biology/Cytogenetics (3 units; Syllabus)
Prerequisites: Upper division genetics or cell biology course; concurrent enrollment with consent of instructor.
Survey of behavior, structure, and function of chromosomes with emphasis on behavior in model organisms. Topics include mitosis, meiosis, chromosome aberrations, genome function, dosage compensation, transposons, repetitive DNA, and modern cytological imaging. Also listed as Plant & Microbial Biology C134. (Sp) (more detailed description)
MCB 135A: Molecular Endocrinology (3 units; Syllabus)
Prerequisites: 102, Biology 1A/1AL-1B, Chemistry 3A/3AL-3B or equivalent, or consent of instructor.
Molecular mechanisms by which hormones elicit specific responses and regulate gene expression; hormone-receptor interaction; synthesis, transport and targeting of hormones, growth factors and receptors. (F)
MCB 136: Physiology (4 units; Syllabus)
Prerequisites: Biology 1A/1AL-1B, Physics 8A-8B.
Credit option: Students will receive no credit for 136 after IB 132.
Principles of mammalian (primarily human) physiology emphasizing physical, chemical, molecular and cellular bases of functional biology. The following topics will be covered: cellular and membrane ion and nonelectrolyte transport; cell and endocrine regulation; autonomic nervous system regulation; skeletal, smooth and cardiac muscle; cardiovascular physiology; respiration; renal physiology; gastrointestinal physiology. Discussion section led by Graduate Student Instructor will review material covered in lecture. (F)
MCB 137L: Physical Biology of the Cell (3 units; Syllabus)
Biology is being revolutionized by new experimental techniques that have made it possible to measure the inner workings of molecules, cells and multicellular organisms with unprecedented precision. The objective of this course is to explore this deluge of quantitative data through the use of biological numeracy. We will develop theoretical models that make precise predictions about biological phenomena. These predictions will be tested through the hands-on analysis of experimental data and by performing numerical simulations using Matlab. A laptop is required for this course, but no previous programming experience is required. (Sp) Garcia
MCB 140: General Genetics (4 units; Syllabus)
Prerequisites: BIOLOGY 1A and 1AL.
An in depth introduction to genes, their sexual and asexual transmission in individuals and populations, and gene regulation in prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Gene manipulation by recombination, molecular cloning and genome editing is presented in contexts ranging from fundamental mechanisms of chromosome biology to applications in development, aging and disease. Human genetic variation and its quantitative evaluation are illuminated. Non-Mendelian and epigenetic modes of inheritance of transposable elements, prions and chromatin states are paired with discussions of groundbreaking technology rewriting the rules of how the genome is analyzed, with attention to the ethical considerations ranging from the history of eugenics to modern controversies. (F,Sp)
MCB 140L: Genetics Laboratory (4 units; Syllabus)
Prerequisites: 104, 140. May be taken concurrently.
Experimental techniques in classical and molecular genetics. (Sp)
MCB 141: Developmental Biology (4 units; Syllabus/Schedule)
Prerequisites: 102 or C100A/Chemistry C130, Biology 1A/1AL-1B; 110 or 104 recommended.
An introduction to principles and processes of embryonic and post-embryonic development, stressing mechanisms of cell and tissue interactions, morphogenesis and regulation of gene expression. (Sp)
MCB 143: Evolution of Genomes, Cells and Development (3 units; Syllabus)
Prerequisites: Biology 1A-1B and MCB C100A or 102; 104 or 140 recommended.
Student will receive no credit for 143 after taking IB 163.
This course is intended for upper-division undergraduates seeking an interactive course based on modern concepts in evolution and comparative genomics. The course will emphasize the contribution of molecular evolution to a series of seminar events in life's history: origin of life; origin of cells; origin of eukaryotes; origin of multicellularity; evolution of animal development; human origins. (F)
MCB C145: Genomics (4 units)
Prerequisites: 102 or 110
In-depth introduction to genomics, including genome sequencing; bioinformatics; sequence annotation and analysis; complex trait mapping; DNA microarrays and their uses; proteomics; structural genomics. Also listed as Plant & Microbial Biology C145. (currently not offered)
MCB C146: Topics in Computational Biology and Genomics (4 units)
Prerequisites: Bioengineering 142, Computer Science 61A, or equivalent ability to write programs in Java, Perl, C, or C++; 100, 102, or equivalent; or consent of instructor.
Instruction and discussion of topics in genomics and computational biology. Working from evolutionary concepts, the course will cover principles and application of molecular sequence comparison, genome sequencing and functional annotation, and phylogenetic analysis. Also listed as Bioengineering C146 and Plant & Microbial Biology C146. (currently not offered)
MCB C148: Microbial Genomics and Genetics (4 units; Syllabus)
Prerequisites: C100A/Chemistry C130 or 102.
Course emphasizes bacterial and archaeal genetics and comparative genomics. Genetics and genomic methods used to dissect metabolic and development processes in bacteria, archaea, and selected microbial eukaryotes. Genetic mechanisms integrated with genomic information to address integration and diversity of microbial processes. Introduction to the use of computational tools for a comparative analysis of microbial genomes and determining relationships among bacteria, archaea, and microbial eukaryotes. Also listed as Plant & Microbial Biology C148. (Sp)
MCB 149: The Human Genome (3 units; Syllabus)
Prerequisites: MCB 140, MCB 104 or equivalent.
This is an upper division course for majors in MCB with an interest in an in-depth exploration of the forces that shape the human genome and the human population, as well as the ways that human genetic information can be used in medicine, ancestry and forensics. The course will combine lectures and discussion of research papers. (Sp)
MCB 150: Molecular Immunology (4 units; Syllabus; Schedule)
Prerequisites: C100A/Chemistry C130 or 102.
Fundamentals of immunology with emphasis on biochemical and molecular approaches to study of the immune system and its application in medicine and biotechnology. Topics covered include description of the immune system, antibody and T-cell receptor structure and function, genes of the immunoglobulin superfamily, cells and molecular mediators that regulate the immune response, allergy, autoimmunity, immunodeficiency, tissue and organ transplants, and tumor immunology. (F,Sp)
MCB 150L: Immunology Laboratory (4 units; Syllabus)
Prerequisites: 150 (may be taken concurrently); consent of instructor.
Experimental techniques in mammalian molecular biology and cellular immunology. Molecular techniques covered include PCR and recombinant DNA procedures such as gene cloning, gene transfer, DNA sequencing, Southern blot, and restriction mapping. Immunological techniques covered include cell culture and monoclonal antibody production, flow cytometry, ELISA, immunoprecipitation, and western blot. (F,Sp)
MCB 160: Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology (4 units; Syllabus)
Prerequisites: Biology 1A and 1AL. Prerequisite or co-requisite: Physics 8B.
Comprehensive introductory survey of cellular and molecular neuroscience, including cellular neurophysiology, ion channel function, synaptic function and plasticity, sensory transduction, and brain development. Includes introduction to molecular basis of neurological disease. Analysis from the level of molecules to cells to simple circuits. (F)
MCB 160L: Neurobiology Laboratory (4 units; Syllabus)
Prerequisites: Biology 1A, 1AL; Physics 8A, 8B; MCB 160 or equivalent (may be taken concurrently). Recommended: a course in physical chemistry. ***Students interested in taking this course who do not meet the 160 requirement should consult with the instructor on the first day of class.
Experimental analyses of properties and interactions of nerve cells and systems, illustrating principal features and current methods. Techniques employed include computer simulation of neuron properties, electrophysiological recording and stimulation of nerves and cells, digitally enhanced video imaging of outgrowth, fluorescence immunocytochemistry, analysis of sensory: CNS mapping, human-evoked potential recording, sensory psychophysics. (Sp)
MCB 161: Circuit, Systems and Behavioral Neuroscience (4 units; Syllabus)
Prerequisites: MCB 160
Comprehensive survey of circuits and systems neuroscience, including sensory and motor systems, learning and memory, neuromodulatory systems and brain state and higher functions. Biological and computational principles of neural circuit function. Analysis from the level of small circuits to behavior. (Sp)
MCB 163L: Mammalian Neuroanatomy Lab (4 units; Syllabus; effective Fa16)
Prerequisites: Biology 1A/1AL.
Development, structure (gross and microscopic), and functional relationships of the mammalian nervous system. (F)
MCB 165: Neurobiology of Disease (3 units; Syllabus)
The molecular, cellular, and neural circuit basis of neurological disease. Includes neurochemistry and reward systems, neural development and its disorders, addiction, neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric disorders. Students will read and discuss primary papers from the research literature. (Sp)
MCB 166: Biophysical Neurobiology (3 units; Syllabus)
Prerequisites: Biology 1A/1AL, Physics 8A-8B, Chemistry 1A, 3A/3AL-3B, and consent of instructor.
Electrochemistry and ion transport phenomena, equivalent circuits, excitability, action potentials, voltage clamp and the Hodgkin-Huxley model. Biophysical properties of ion channels. Statistical and electrophysiological models of synaptic transmission, Quantitative models for dendritic structure and neuronal morphogenesis. Sensory transduction, cellular networks as computational devices, information processing and transfer. (F)
MCB 170L: Molecular and Cell Biology Laboratory (4 units; Syllabus)
Prerequisites: Molecular and Cell Biology 102, 104, 110 or 140
This laboratory class is designed for molecular biology, cell biology and genetics majors to give them an overview of techniques and applications done in these three fields. This is an intense lab class, and you have to be ready to work at a fast pace throughout the 6 weeks span of the course. (Su)
MCB N184: IGI CRISPR Undergraduate Summer Lecture (1 unit; Syllabus)
Prerequisites: MCB 104, 140, 143, 110 or equivalent background in Genetics and Cell Biology
This 3 week course will address topics in genome editing and CRISPR-Cas9 research, including basic and enhanced CRISPR methods, cellular repair mechanisms, regulation of gene expression, bioinformatics, applications to various organisms, and bioethics. Students will learn from a collection of local experts about ongoing campus research, and gain the background knowledge to understand current publications and applications of genome editing. (Su)
MCB N184L: IGI CRISPR Undergraduate Summer Laboratory (1 unit; Syllabus)
Prerequisites: Any one of the lab courses (MCB 110L, 133L, 140L, 150L and 160L) or equivalent lab experience. MCB N184 (may be taken concurrently)
This 3 week lab course will focus on applications of CRISPR technology as a platform for genome editing and functional genomics. The program will consist of a hands-on laboratory experience demonstrating how CRISPR systems work in situ, as well as use genome editing both in vitro and in vivo. Students will utilize fundamental molecular biology techniques and learn additional protocols specific to genome editing. Two bioinformatics based lessons will cover the essential programs and analyses used in the genome editing field. This course requires concurrent enrollment in a lecture component (MCELLBI N184), where lecturers will address topics in genome editing and CRISPR-Cas9 research. (Su)