VSC113 Fundamentals of Veterinary Biology (8)

This subject provides a brief introduction to taxonomy & phylogeny and basic science & measurement concepts, then introduces cell biology incorporating applied aspects of basic cell structure and function including aspects of introductory organic chemistry, biochemistry, microbiology, and cell physiology with particular emphasis on biochemical and genetic functions of cells. It provides foundations in membrane transport and cell signalling. This subject will prepare students for advanced study in physiology, pathophysiology, microbiology and histology. Previous basic knowledge of chemistry and biology is assumed.


Session 1 (30)
On Campus
Wagga Wagga Campus

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: VSC113. Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



One session


School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences

Enrolment Restrictions

Only students in

Bachelor of Veterinary Biology
Bachelor of Veterinary Biology/Bachelor of Veterinary Science (Honours) Integrated Honours

Assumed Knowledge

Basic chemistry and biology.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to use phylogenetic and taxonomic principles to explain major differences between eukaryote and prokaryote organisms including microbes, plant and animal cells;
  • be able to describe and apply concepts of thermodynamics, solution, diffusion, equilibrium and normality to physiological systems;
  • be able to describe the families of biological molecules essential for life (proteins, carbohydrates, lipids and nucleic acids) and outline the relationships of their anabolic and catabolic pathways;
  • be able to describe the basic structure of cells, including various subcellular structures in relation to their function and tissue types;
  • be able to explain the structure and functions of cell membranes and their integral proteins and describe the role these play in cellular communication, including chemical transport and detailed explanations of development of membrane potential and the action potential;
  • be able to describe cell information storage and regulation using DNA and its control of the cell cycle, explaining how recombinant DNA technology & neoplasia change function, giving examples in animal health and production;
  • be able to demonstrate a basic understanding of the structure, function and pathogenicity of various classes of micro-organisms, and to culture and identify them; and
  • be able to utilise principles of research, measurement and analysis to demonstrate an awareness of scientific method and an emerging ability to communicate research findings and conclusions appropriately.


This subject will cover the following topics:
  • Introduction to taxonomy & phylogeny: Structure and classification of living organisms
  • Science and Measurement
  • Major classes of biological molecules important for cell function
  • Structure and function of nucleated cells and major differences between plant and animal cells.
  • Biological membranes, cellular signalling and transmembrane transport processes, cellular signalling and action potentials.
  • Control of the cell cycle
  • Flow of genetic information, control of gene expression, gene families and cancer.
  • Recombinant DNA technology and its application to animal and veterinary sciences.
  • Structure, function and classification of micro-organisms such as viruses, bacteria, protozoa and fungi
  • Culturing micro-organisms and control of microbial growth

Indicative Assessment

The following table summarises the assessment tasks for the online offering of VSC113 in Session 1 2020. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated and can also differ to suit the mode of study (online or on campus).

Item Number
Value %
Semi-formative on-line quiz
Mid-session exam
Scientific report
Final examination
Attendance at practical and tutorial sessions

The information contained in the CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: May 2021. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.