BIOL 2020: Principles of Cell Biology Fall 2018 (Draft)

Lectures and discussions will explore the relationship between cell structure and function using examples from both prokaryotes and eukaryotes (plants, animals, and fungi). Expected learning outcomes...

Enforced prerequisites: BIOL 1210 and CHEM 1210. You must complete both of these courses (or equivalents) with a C- or better before taking BIOL 2020.

Download a PDF of the (DRAFT) syllabus and schedule for Fall 2018 (opening PDF files requires the free Adobe Acrobat Reader, available here).


Dr. David Gard
101 Bldg 44

Office hours: I am available to meet with students most Wednesdays from ~1-2PM. I also conduct two discussion sections Wednesdays 9:40-10:30 and 10:45-11:35 in LS107.

Open office policy: I am in my office most weekdays, usually by 9:20 AM on Mondays and as early as 8 AM T-F (please remember that I will be prepping for lecture on Tues and Thurs mornings!). If my office door is open, I am happy to meet with students... feel free to drop-in.

Or, you can schedule an appointment by e-mailing me at (preferred) or by calling 801-581-7365.

Teaching assistants: I will be assisted by ten undergraduate teaching assitants (TAs):

Allison Astill 801-540-2337 allison.astill at
Hannah Bailey 801-592-3240 hannahbailey9 at
Erin Carroll 406-839-5797 gcarrolle at
Saja Hassoun 801-471-5307 sajahassoun at
Anna Jacobsen 425-209-6985 anna.marie.9277 at
Vivin Kokuhennadige 720-930-8343 u1077508 at
Mason Lunceford 801-616-8592 mason.lunceford at
Michael Mangum 801-608-6888 m.mangum at
Makenzie Pavich 801-636-8022 makenziepavich at
Kira Tanghe 802-338-7393 kira.tanghe at

TAs will lead weekly discussion/problem solving sessions (see schedule and locations below) and conduct one-on-one/small group tutoring sessions in the Biology Learning Center (103 BIOL; see schedule below). For additional help, please contact your TA.

Lectures: Lectures are Tu/Th from 10:45 AM - 12:25 PM in ASB 220. A 3-5 min break will be provided midway thru most class periods. Attending lectures is one of the most important factors contributiong to success in this course!

Biology 2020 is a 3 hour class. University Policies and Procedures defines one credit hour as: “...approximately three clock hours of the student's time a week for one semester” (Chapter VII section 2). Thus, a typical student should expect to spend approximately nine hours per week on this course, including in-class time and time spent outside of class completing the assigned reading and problem sets.

Discussion sections: TAs will conduct weekly “discussion sessions,” where students may ask questions about material covered in lecture, assigned reading, problem sets, or old exams. Attendance at these sessions is optional. However, I STRONGLY suggest you attend one or more sessons per week. In addition, one or more review sessions will be conducted before each exam.

Tutoring: One-on-one/small group tutoring sessions conducted by the TAs will be held weekly (at least one session/day, M-Th) in 103 BIOL (see schedule below). Additional tutoring is available from the Biology Learning Center (1st floor foyer of BIOL building;Info and schedules can be found here...).

Schedule of Discussion sections and Tutoring
Time/Date Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday
8:35-9:25   Discussion
LS 102 (Saja)
BIOL 103 (Mason)
BIOL 103 (Allison)
9:40-10:30 Discussion
LS 107 (Hannah)
LS 102 (Makenzie)

LS 107 (Gard)
LS 102 (Allison)
10:45-11:35 Tutoring
BIOL 103 (Saja)

220 ASB
10:45 - 12:05

LS 107 (Gard)

220 ASB
10:45 - 12:05
11:50-12:40 Discussion
WBB 206 (Kira)
WBB 206 (Vivin)
12:55-1:45   Discussion
LS 102 (Michael)

Office hours (Gard)
101 Bldg 44

AEB 340 (Mason)

2:00-2:50 Tutoring
BIOL 103 (Hannah)
BIOL 103 (Michael)
BIOL 103 (Kira)
BIOL 103 (Anna)
3:05-3:55 Discussion
LS 107 (Anna)

4:10-5:00 Discussion
LS 107 (Erin)
BIOL 103 (Vivin)
5:00-6:00     Tutoring
BIOL 103 (Makenzie)
BIOL 103 (Erin)

Note: Discussion sections and TA tutoring begin Mon 27 August...

Download contact info and discussion/tutoring schedule for Fall 2018 here (PDF)...

Text, assigned reading, problem sets, and other resources:

Required text and assigned reading: Reading from Alberts et al., Essential Cell Biology 4th edition (AKA ECB4) will be assigned for each lecture. Copies are on general reserve at Marriot library.

I do NOT recommend using earlier additions of ECB!

Note: Garland Publishing sold ECB4 to W.W. Norton and Company in spring 2018. The Norton representative told me that the 4th edition books being sold by Norton this fall are identical to the 4th edition sold by Garland. DLG

Course website and lecture notes: PDF and PPT files containing key slides from the lecture presentations can be downloaded from the course website. Course materials are password protected, and the username and password will be provided in class. This website will NOT show in your Canvas classes!

Study questions: Questions are included in the page margins and at the end of each chapter of ECB4. A subset of those probles are assigned for each lecture (listed at the beginning of each on-line problem set). Students are encouraged to work the problems assigned from the text.

To help you focus your studying, additional “study questions” for each lecture or series of lectures are available on the course website. Many of these problems are taken from old exams, and students are encouraged to solve/answer them. Answers are provided on the course website.

Note: These study questions introduce new material or consolidate/synthesize concepts from lecture. You are responsible for all material/topics covered in these problem sets.

Old exams: Finally, exams (with solutions) from Spring 2018 can be downloaded (as PDF files) from the course website (scroll down from the “problem sets”). These exams provide good examples of the sorts of questions that might appear on exams this spring. Students are encouraged to work the problems in the old exams in preparation for their exams.

Note: the order of presentation and scheduling of exams vary slightly from year to year, so material may be covered on different exams in different years.

Electronics: Laptops and tablets may be used in class for following lecture powerpoints or note taking. Use of cell phones in class will not be tolerated. Please turn off all cell phones prior to entering the classroom. Non-programmable calculators may be used in exams when appropriate.

There will be four in-class exams (three mid-terms and a final exam). All exams are closed book/notes. A non-programmable calculator can be used (no PDAs, tablets, cell phones, etc). All exams will be counted towards your final grade. Review sessions will be scheduled before each exam (see schedule).

Exams #1-3 are scheduled during class periods on 20 Sept, 25 Oct, and 15 Nov. Exams 1-3 will each include 100 points. Exams 1-3 are comprehensive only in that material presented later in the semester builds on material presented earlier.

Exam #4 (the "FINAL") is scheduled for Tuesday 11 December from 10:30 AM until 12:30 PM (note the time!). Exam include 125 points and will include 25 points of material drawing together concepts presented throughout the semester.

Note: I try to write exams that can be completed within the allotted class time. However, students are occasionally provided with additional time. Please plan your schedule accordingly.

Rescheduled, make-up, or missed exams: Requests to reschedule or make up an exam will only be granted for medical, legal, or religious reasons (requiring a written note from a medical doctor, officer of the law/court, or clergy), or for official University business (as per chapter VII section 15 of the University's policies and procedures). You must notify Dr. Gard BEFORE the exam that will be missed. Rescheduled/make-up exams must be completed within one week of the original exam date. Rescheduled exams may be given orally, at my discretion.

If you know you will miss an exam for any OTHER reason, I recommend taking BIOL 2020 another semester.

Rescoring exams: If a student believes their score to be in error, they may submit their exam for rescoring, subject to the following conditions:

Do NOT write ANYTHING on your exam! Exams will not be re-scored if they have been altered in any way. A subset of exams may be photocopied before they are returned to students. Students submitting an altered exam for re-scoring will receive a 0 for that exam, and will be reported to the University.

Include a brief explanation ON A SEPARATE PIECE OF PAPER explaining why you believe your score is in error.

Dr. Gard will re-score your entire exam. Re-scoring is FINAL, and your new score (be it higher or lower) will be used in calculation of your final grade.

Requests to re-score and/or correct addition errors for exams #1-3 MUST be submitted IN WRITING prior to the next scheduled exam. Requests to re-score and/or correct addition errors on the final exam must be submitted in writing prior to the date announced at the end of the semester.

In addition to the exams, seven "pop" quizzes will be administered in lectures throughout the semester. Each quiz will consist of a single question with a short answer (True/False, multiple choice, or 1-2 word answers). Each quiz will be worth 2 points for a correct answer, 1 pt for an incorrect answer, 0 pts for no answer/no quiz. Students should bring a 3" x 5" file card to every EVERY lecture for taking quizzes.

The dates and times of quizzes will NOT be announced in advance, and there will be NO MAKEUPS for missed quizzes. A maximum of 10 quiz points will be counted towards the final grade.

The scores of all four in-class exams (max 425) and quiz points (max 10) will be added to yield a "point total" for each student (max 435). Final grades will be assigned according to a "curve" generated from the point totals of all students with four exam scores*. The break point between a C+ and B- will set at or near the median (half above/half below) of the classes point totals (I reserve the right to LOWER the C+/B- break point based on my evaluation of the classes performance). I expect ~18-20% of the students will receive As (A and A-), ~30% Bs (B+, B, and B-), ~30% Cs (C+, C, and C-), and ~10% Ds (again, NOT including students with fewer than four exams). I do not assign grades of D+ and D-.

* Students with fewer than four exam scores will not be used in generation of the curve, but their grades will be determined by the curve.

Other policies:

Content accommodations: The content of this course fulfills legitimate pedagogical goals. I do NOT grant content accommodations. Students are responsible for all material presented in the lectures, problem sets, and required reading. Attendance accommodations are made according to University policies and procedures (chapter VII section 15; see above): "Students absent from class to participate in officially sanctioned University activities (e.g., band, debate, student government, intercollegiate athletics) or religious obligations, or with instructor's approval, shall be permitted to make up both assignments and examinations..." See my policies regarding rescheduling exams (above).

Drops and Withdraws: The drop policy of this class is consistent with that of the University: the last day to drop (delete) classes is Friday 2 September. Classes dropped before this date will not appear on transcripts. The last day to withdraw from classes is Friday 21 October. A "W" will appear on transcripts. Instructor approval is not required for withdrawal. After 21 October, withdrawal requires approval of the Dean of your majors college, which is only granted for compelling non-academic reasons.

Incompletes: University policy allows assignment of a grade of incomplete (I) if 80% of the class has been completed (20% or less of the course work remains unfinished). An "I" grade cannot be used to avoid paying tuition to re-take the class! I will consider assigning an "incomplete (I)" only under EXCEPTIONAL circumstances unrelated to academic performance, and only if a student is passing the course with a C- or better when the "Incomplete" is requested.

Cr/NC option: Registering under the Cr/NC option does not require instructor approval. However, University policies may require specific levels of achievement for this grade to be administratively assigned.

Audits: I will not approve requests to audit (V) this course.

A.D.A. : The University of Utah seeks to provide equal access to its programs, services, and activities for people with disabilities. If you will need accommodations in this class, reasonable prior notice needs to be given to the instructor and to the Center for Disability Services, 162 Olpin Union Building, 581-5020 (V/TDD) to make arrangements for these accommodations. All written information in this course can be made available in alternative format with prior notification.

Wellness: Personal concerns such as stress, anxiety, relationship difficulties, depression, cross-cultural differences, etc., can interfere with a student's ability to succeed and thrive at the University of Utah. For helpful resources contact the Center for Student Wellness at or call 801-581-7776.

Letters of recommendation: BIOL 2020 is a HUGE class. It is very difficult for me to get to know individual students, making it very difficult and unsatisfying to write letters of recommendation for even the best of students when all I can say is "They took my class and got an A." I will not write those letters! If you expect to ask me to write a letter for you, you will need to go out of your way to make yourself known to me... Just introducing yourself at the beginning of the term is a start, but is NOT sufficient! A good way is to frequent one of the discussion sections I lead each week.