Application: Biochemistry and Cell Biology

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Imagine you are making plans to take care of your home as you prepare to leave for a long vacation. You realize there are two things in your home that require special attention: your pets and your houseplants. These need special attention because they are alive. Have you thought closely about what distinguishes a living organism from a non-living thing?

“Biochemistry is the study of the structure, composition, and chemical reactions of substances in living systems” (American Chemical Society, 2012). This week, you begin to explore biochemistry as you learn about the fundamental unit of all living things—the cell. You discover what all cells require for life, learn about the cell’s structure and how it functions, and pay special attention to a critical cell component, the cell membrane.

For this Application Assignment, you complete the Cell Structure and Function Virtual Lab and complete a hands-on lab about cell function, the Osmosis Lab. You also complete and submit a lab report based on the Osmosis Lab.

Reference: American Chemical Society. (2012). Careers in Chemistry: Biochemistry. Retrieved January 17, 2012, from http://portal.acs.org/portal/acs/corg/content?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=PP_ARTICLEMAIN&node_id=1188&content_id=CTP_003379&use_sec=true&sec_url_var=region1&__uuid=046229e5-a4d2-4fb3-b0ef-52004408a6fd.

To prepare for this week’s Application Assignment:


  • Review Chapter 2, “Are We Alone in the Universe?” to learn about the cell and the basic requirements of all living things.


  • Review Chapter 3: “Is It Possible to Supplement Your Way to Better Health?” Section 3.2 Transport Across Membranes (pp. 63–68) to learn about cell membrane structure and how molecules pass in and out of the cell.



The following schedule outlines your assignments for this week’s Application Assignment.


Due By


Day 1

Download the Osmosis Lab Instructions and begin gathering the required materials

Day 3

Complete the Cell Structure and Function Virtual Lab.

Day 3

Begin Part 1 of the Osmosis Lab.

Day 5

Complete Part 1 of the Osmosis Lab and begin Part 2.

Day 7

Complete Part 2 of the Osmosis Lab. Then, complete the Osmosis Lab Report and submit it as the Application Assignment.



By Day 3:


  • Complete the Cell Structure and Function Virtual Lab. See the Required Resources section for the link to this activity. (Note: A brief knowledge check within the lab helps you to review the lab’s content and prepares you for this week’s graded Self-Assessment Quiz and Weekly Exam.)


  • Start Part 1 of the Osmosis Lab. This is a lab you complete at home.


  • Osmosis Lab Instructions—The Cell Structure and Function Virtual Lab will help you understand the Osmosis Lab.


  • Osmosis Lab Report—you may complete this lab report by hand as you complete the Osmosis Lab; however, by Day 7, you submit an electronic version of this document for your Application Assignment.


NOTE: You must obtain or purchase a few inexpensive items for this lab. See the list of lab materials under the Required Resources section. Also, Part 1 of the lab takes 48 hours to complete, so start the lab no later than Day 3.

By Day 5:

  • Complete Part 1 of the Osmosis Lab and begin Part 2.


By Day 7:

  • Complete Part 2 of the Osmosis Lab.


  • Submit your completed Osmosis Lab Report as your Application Assignment.


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