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Harvard University

Cell Biology: Mitochondria

Harvard University via edX


The cell is a powerful case study to help us explore the functional logic of living systems. All organisms, from single-celled algae to complex multicellular organisms like us, are made up of cells. In this course, you will learn the how and why of biology by exploring the function of the molecular components of cells, and how these cellular components are organized in a complex hierarchy.

This course is designed to explore the fundamentals of cell biology. The overarching goal is for learners to understand, from a human-centered perspective, that cells are evolving ensembles of macromolecules that in turn form complex communities in tissues, organs, and multicellular organisms.

We will focus, in particular, on the mitochondrion, the organelle that powers the cell. In this context, we will look at the processes of cell metabolism. Finally, we will examine the F1F0 ATP synthase, the molecular machine that is responsible for the synthesis of most of the ATP that your cells require to do work. To underscore the importance of cell biology to our lives, we will address questions of development and disease and implications of science in society.

By the end of four weeks, we hope learners will have a deep intuition for the functional logic of a cell. Together we will ask how do things work within a cell, why do they work the way they do, and how are we impacted?

Join us as we explore the extraordinary and wonderfully dynamic world of the cell.

Taught by

Robert A. Lue


4.0 rating, based on 4 Class Central reviews

4.7 rating at edX based on 157 ratings

Start your review of Cell Biology: Mitochondria

  • "Beautiful" is the best way to describe this course; the animations are sensational. And, surprise, they're helpful to understanding what's going on as well.

    The first couple of weeks might seem a bit ho-hum for anyone who's had biology before. Mitochondria don't really come into it in any detail until week 3, at which point glycolysis, the citric acid cycle, and ATP synthesis are covered in significant detail. There's also a more ethics-centered unit on mitrochondrial disease and donation, something I'd never heard of before, but that's not surprising since it's recently developed.

    FMI see the post on my personal blog at
  • An interesting piece that breaks down the knowledge of cells to O levels for better understanding. It teaches on cell biology, the differences, components of cell.

  • Profile image for Md Kaif Raza
    Md Kaif Raza
    Mitochondria is the powerhouse of cell and the fact is explained very well in the course. The tuitor was very elegant he was confident about his concepts moreover he had clarity about his topic. It was an amazing experience to the part of this course
  • Profile image for Cibele Braga
    Cibele Braga
    O curso elucida as duvidas relacionadas ao funcionamento do nosso organismo em relação aos componentes das celulas.

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