Course Description

Plants represent roughly 80% of the biomass on our planet and are essential primary producers in our ecosystems. At the cellular level, plants display some fascinating differences from other eukaryotic cells, including fragmentation of the secretory pathway, dramatic changes to cytoskeleton organization, and other adaptations to life as a pressurized cell. This course will examine and discuss examples from the primary scientific literature that highlight these distinct features of plant cells by contrasting them to animal cells. We will also discuss how these discoveries can contribute to addressing global challenges, such as developing innovative biomaterials, enhancing food security and cultivating renewable biofuels.


BIO230H1/BIO255H1, BIO260H1/HMB265H1

Recommended Preparation


Prof. H. McFarlane

Contact hours


Required Text(s)/Readings

No textbook; readings will be assigned from scientific literature and made available through Quercus.

Evaluation (Subject to change)

20%     Class participation
30%     Presentations (2x 15%)
20%     Paper Summaries (short-answer written assignments) (2x 10%)
10%     Peer Feedback on written assignments
20%     Final exam

Last updated on June 2nd, 2022