Università degli Studi di Napoli "Parthenope"

Teaching schedule

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Belonging course: 
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Year of study: 
Second semester
Hours of front activity: 



Course description

The course aims at providing students with basic knowledge in
1) Cell-to cell communication
2) Principles of Development and Differentiation
3) Molecular mechanisms of cell biogenesis, turnover, homeostasis, aging and death
4) The flow of Genetic information and the regulation of gene expression
5) Epigenetics and consequences on health status
6) Basic Genetics and the applications of biotechnologies to improve heath

Expected learning outcomes:
o Knowledge and understanding
The student has to learn:1) basic biological processes (i.e. cell to cell communications, development, differentiation, tissue turnover and homeostasis, cell aging and death); 2) the importance of DNA and the impact of the environment -which include exercises- on gene expression in order to maintain health status; 3) basic genetics and the possible therapeutic use of biotechnology.

o Applying knowledge and understanding
The student’ll apply knowledge to:
• identify and compare the different cell to cell communications
• understand the molecular mechanisms of cell biogenesis, turnover, homeostasis, aging and death
• understand the relationship between DNA function and environment in order to promote suitable life stiles
• understand the basic mechanism for the transmission of hereditary diseases and promote the correct use of biotechnology to maintain and preserve health status and wellness.

o Making judgements
The student has to gain the e skill to select the appropriate scientific sources in order to make correct data integration and interpretation.
o Communication
The student has to explain the acquired knowledge using a proper scientific language, thus demonstrating a full comprehension of the course topics.
o Lifelong learning skills
The student has to develop the appropriate learning method in order to easily improve and upgrade his skills/knowledge




Cell to cell communications
• Plama membrane and extracellular matrix
• Cell-cell interactions
• Cell junctions
• Autocrine, paracrine, endocrine, neural and neuroendocrine communication
• Molecular Signals
• Cell surface receptors: Signal transduction and second messengers
• Nuclear receptors and action of steroid hormones
Cell Cycle, Mitosis, Meiosis, Development, Differentiation, Aging and Cell Death
• Mitotic Cell Cycle: progression and checkpoints
• Growth factors, mitogens and survival factors
• Meoisis, gametogenesis and fertilization:
• Genomic equivalence
• Mechanisms of cellular determination and master genes
• Tissue turnover and homeostasis: Stem cells (basics, classification and applications), Role of adult stem cells in tissue turnover, homeostasis and regeneration
• The biology of Aging: cell damage in DNA and protein, cell membrane, organelles and cytoskeleton; the involvement of mitochondrion and mtDNA; primary and secondary defences .
• Cell death: Apoptosis necrosis and autophagy
The flow of Genetic information and the regulation of gene expression
• The flow of Genetic information
• Chromatin structure
• The regulation of gene expression
• Non coding RNA
Epigenetics: The interplay between genes and environment
• Definition
• Epigenetic mechanisms
• Epigenetic reprogramming in mammalian development
• Life style and epigenetics
o Pedigree Analysis and Monofactorial inheritance (Autosomal dominant inheritance, Autosomal recessive inheritance, X- and Y-linked inheritance)
o Sex determination
o Allele interactions, multiple alleles, and ABO blood group system.
• Genetic disorder that affects the skeletal muscle
o Extranuclear inheritance: Mitochondrial genome, characteristics and inheritance; mutations of mitochondrial genome and aging, main mitochondrial myopathies
• Genetics and sport: Gene polymorphisms and sport performance
• DNA Mutations: Changes in chromosome number, Changes in chromosome structure and Gene Mutations, causes and consequences
• DNA repair mechanism
• Applications of DNA recombination technology
• Gene therapy and Cell theraphy
• Gene doping
• Bioetics

The aim of this course is the fundamental learning of: cell-to-cell communications; cellular and molecular mechanisms leading to development, differentiation, tissue renewal and cell turnover, cell aging and death; the impact of DNA functionality on health status and the epigenetics; the genetic inheritance in human and the applications of biotechnologies to improve heath.

Teaching Methods

Face to face lessons, exercises, seminars and discussion of scientific articles


Scientific articles
• Pierantoni, Cobellis, Meccariello, Chianese: Fondamenti di biologia e genetica Edises
• Fantoni - Bozzaro - Del Sal – Ferrari Biologia cellulare Piccin editore
• Campbell & Reece Biologia vol 5 - La forma e la funzione negli animali Pearson education
• Selected scientific artiche provided during the course
• Articoli scientifici selezionati dal docente

Learning assessment

Oral examination and analysis of a recent scientific article using methodological tools discussed in class or explained in the text books.

The student has to explain the acquired knowledge using a proper scientific language, thus demonstrating a full comprehension of the course topics.

More information

Lectures are in Italian. The professor is fluent in English and is available to interact with students in English, also during the examination.