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Interesting Lectures and Seminars

Cellular Biology B
Studying cells which are the base unit of living things

Chie Cho
2nd year student at the School of Advanced Science and Engineering

Professor Kentaro Semba (Faculty of Science and Engineering) is popular for his humorous lectures

The course Cellular Biology B uses the text Fundamental Biology & Cellular Biology (written by Masaru Wada; Yodosha Publishing) to study the structure and functions of cells which are the base unit of living things. This study of cells is taught by Professor Kentaro Semba. Furthermore, more detailed material on cells which possess special functions is taught by Professor Toshio Oshima.

In this course, students can study the fundamental functions of cells which are responsible for almost all life phenomena. Cells were discovered in 1665 by R. Hooke. In 1838, a cell theory for plants was proposed by M.J. Schleiden. Similarly, a cell theory for animals was proposed by T. Schwann the following year in 1839. These theories stated that cells compose the entire body of living things and that cells provide the basic structure and functions of living things.

Professor Semba has a playful demeanor and mixes onomatopoeia into his easy-to-understand lectures. He also skips over areas which he views as unnecessary in order to focus on important material. Professor Oshima has a beard which gives him a dandy appearance. He also selects and focuses his teaching only on important material from within the enormous amount of information which must be memorized.

A major feature of this course is the mini-quizzes which are held at the end of classes. Even students who were daydreaming in class work intensely and consult with other students in order to complete the quizzes. The quizzes contain practical topics such as consideration of experiments based on the material taught in class that day. They also contain problems which can only be solved by creatively applying the material which was taught. The quizzes are interesting and intellectually stimulating.

Many students avoid biology courses due to preconceptions that biology is too detailed and requires a large amount of memorization. However, this course allows students to study the very minimum of required information as selected by professors who are active in biological research. I hope that even students who have not shown any particular interest in biology will take this course.