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Learn cellular biology with online courses and programs

Cells are the building blocks of any living organism. Cellular biology aims to understand the function of cells as a means of understanding basic life processes. Advance your scientific knowledge with online courses delivered through edX.

What is cellular biology?

Cells are the basic units of all living things. By studying organisms at a cellular level, biologists can understand the minute details of their various organs, tissues, and systems. This research can help lead to important discoveries to help treat illnesses, fight disease, and even solve crimes.

While every cell will look different depending on where it comes from, they are generally made up of similar structures. These include the:

  • Cell wall, which serves as a boundary between the cell and its surroundings.

  • Cytoplasm, which is full of tiny organs called organelles that work within the cell.

  • Nucleus, which is where the organism’s DNA is housed.

  • Mitochondria, which powers the cell from the inside.

  • Lysosomes, which break down and remove any waste created by cells.

Cellular Biology | Introduction Image

Cellular biology course curriculum

When learning cellular biology, it can help to have some background knowledge of general biology and life sciences. For learners looking to better understand these topics, an introductory class can introduce or refresh concepts such as cell and tissue structure and function, and basic human anatomy and physiology.

From there, you can move into more intermediate and advanced cellular biology topics, exploring specific parts of the cell, including:

  • Internal cell structure and organization

  • Mitochondria’s role in ATP production

  • Protein structure and formation

  • Aspects of neuroscience related to brain function

Learners who prefer to gain an in-depth education around cellular biology may prefer to pursue a bachelor’s degree in biology or a related field. These courses, as well as those offered through a master’s degree program, can provide additional opportunities for hands-on lab work to solidify complex concepts.

Explore cellular biology jobs

Knowledge of cellular biology can open up a diverse range of career opportunities. Depending on your experience and interests, you may be able to qualify for roles like:

  • Biomedical scientist: Conducts research to find solutions to health care problems.Footnote 1

  • Clinical laboratory technician: Performs complex tests to analyze various bodily samples.Footnote 2

  • Immunologist: Studies the effect of various substances on the immune system to develop appropriate treatments.Footnote 3

  • Forensic biologist: Analyzes biological evidence samples using microscopes, computers, and other tools.Footnote 4

  • Pharmaceutical scientist: Performs tests and analyses to determine drug efficacy, safety, and quality.Footnote 5

Each of these roles will have different education and skills requirements. Some employers may seek candidates with a degree in biology depending on the role. Before deciding on a specific learning path, research the positions you hope to pursue and align your coursework with your career goals.

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