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Innovations in Medical Education: Biology of Cells and Tissues

Biology of Cells and Tissues

Biology of Cells and Tissues, commonly abbreviated as BCT, is a first-year medical school course that covers the principles of biochemistry, cell biology and histology.  Course principles are integrated into a medically relevant series of lectures and small group laboratory sessions across an 8-week period that begins in late October and ends prior to the holiday break.

MOS Ultrasound

Course objectives

After completing this block the students will be able to:

  1. Recognize and explain the functions of the key molecular components and steps of the synthesis, assembly, and degradation of biological macromolecules.
  2. Recall and relate the molecular structures and chemical properties of biological macromolecules to their functions including ligand/substrate recognition, enzyme reactions, formation of multi-molecular complexes; and regulation.
  3. Relate digestive processes and body production of usable and storable chemical energy to the chemical composition of foodstuffs, including vitamin and nutrient requirements.
  4. Describe the inputs and outputs of human intermediary metabolism, and relate mechanisms of metabolic regulation by hormones, feedback loops and other mechanisms to body organ systems and their demands for energy and metabolites.
  5. Describe key features and operating principles of the organization of the human genome, control of gene expression and cell cycle regulation.
  6. Be able to describe  major cellular organelles and the 5 major tissues, and relate their structures to their functions. 
  7. Be able to identify the major organs and relate their structures to their functions.

Course Innovations and Opportunities for Hands-On Learning

In groups of three, students are provided  a microscope, a box of glass slides and a laboratory manual.  Each group is assigned a locker in the lab that contains the microscope and slides. Videoscopes are also provided in the laboratory for larger, self-selected groups to study together.  Finally, students have access to the Virtual Microscopy website at Aperio.  Virtual microscopy is a way to use the computer much like one uses a microscope.    Instructions for use:

Course Syllabus

Course Faculty


Block Director

Associate Block Director

Jim Hutson PhD
Office: 2B158
Office phone: 743-3602

Dan Webster PhD
Office: 5C121
Office phone: 743-1118



Room Number

Beverly Chilton PhD


Charles Faust PhD


Vadivel Ganapathy PhD


James Hutson PhD


Clinton MacDonald PhD


John Pelley PhD MBA


Brandt Schneider PhD


Jeffrey Thomas PhD


Ina Urbatsch PhD


Dan Webster PhD


Simon Williams PhD