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Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cell Biology: Transport and Signaling

Massachusetts Institute of Technology via edX


This is the first cell biology course in a three-part series. Building upon the concepts from biochemistry, genetics, and molecular biology from our 7.00x Introductory Biology and 7.05x Biochemistry MOOCs, these cell biology courses transition to a comprehensive discussion of biology at an experimental level. How do we know what we know about cells at a molecular level and how can we use that knowledge to design experiments to test hypotheses in cell biology?

Professors Rebecca Lamason and Iain Cheeseman guide you through a learning experience where you will discover experiments that answered big questions and find out what is still on the horizon. You will embark on a lively journey through cellular transport and cellular signaling mechanisms and regulation and learn how to apply key concepts and themes of this dynamic experimental science to understand the fundamental workings of cells.

We developed the 7.06x Cell Biology series with an emphasis on:

  • Developing your scientific thinking skills including articulating hypotheses, performing thought experiments, interpreting data, and designing experiments.
  • Using data based on real scientific experiments and highlighting the scientific process in assessments.
  • Asserting that biology is an active field that changes daily through examples of research and relevance to medicine, not static information in a textbook.
  • Uniting themes and principles that inform how scientists conduct and interpret research.
  • Exploring foundational experiments that defined modern cell biology.
  • Implementing the science of learning in the course design.


  • Membranes, Lipids, and Proteins
  • Intracellular Transport and Protein Secretion
  • Nuclear-Cytoplasmic Transport
  • Principles of Signal Transduction
  • Signaling Pathways and Regulatory Paradigms

Taught by

Frank Solomon, Rebecca Lamason, Mary Ellen Wiltrout, Darcy Gordon and Monika Avello


4.9 rating, based on 22 Class Central reviews

Start your review of Cell Biology: Transport and Signaling

  • Like all of the MIT biology courses, this one focuses on the laboratory: not just, how does a newly-made protein go from the ER to the Golgi to a vesicle, but: how do we know that's what it does? How do we figure out what enzymes take part in the pr…
  • Anonymous
    I am 2 weeks into the course. So far I think the lectures are clear and easy to follow. The test yourself questions right after are very good review of the topics. But when it comes to the chapter end quizzes, a lot of questions are based on hypothetical experiments. I think I have a hard time trying to figure out what the different entities involve in the experiments are. It would help if it described the experiments in the quizzes in more detail, like having more picture illustrations.
  • Anonymous
    I strongly recommend this course to those interested in or working in any bio-related field. Besides creating a solid background, you will gain an experimental perspective, which is possibly not easy to obtain from any random course or university without a try-fail-try-learn-try-find cycle. Thanks for who gave this course and made it accessible for us.
  • Anonymous
    This was an interesting course that kept my interest and provided a mild challenge. I look forward to taking more courses like it. It went a little fast and since I am just auditing I know that I will not have a final test which makes me consider taking it again to learn the material better but I plan to take the rest of the cell biology and molecular biology classes before perhaps buying a text book and teaching myself an even better understanding. This was a great way to get started with the material and will make a great foundation from which to build from.
  • Anonymous
    I really love the MITx courses becouse of the way they provide material. Their intricate quizes and class-like maner of teaching make me very involved in the process of learning. When I take these courses I really feel like I'm there in the class and try to write down and remember everything. But all that would be nothing if there are not so smart and competent teachers. I was absolutely delighted of prof. Yaffe and prof. Bell. And I can say prof. Lamason didn't let down at all. She is amasing lecturer, I really enjoied wathcing her lections. Great course! I got tons of useful information that I consider as crucial for any biologist. Thanks!
  • Anonymous
    The course content is great and the professor is a great teacher! It is heavily focused on experimental approach to teach the concepts, which gives a deeper understanding of the topics being studied.
  • Anonymous
    Hi! I have a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and I'm taking this MOOC to update my knowledge in Cell Biology and Cell Signaling, my favorite areas in Biology. I encourage all young students in Biology to take this course. Exceptionally well driven by the Professors and very well documented and animated. I encourage all of you to join the journal club as well, to get feedback information from your peers. Congratulations to MIT for this MOOC.
  • Anonymous
    Amazing course with lots of good information. This course really helps understand the content with many in depth diagrams, animations, and lectures. Would definately recommend.
  • Profile image for Thuy Pham
    Thuy Pham
    I learned a lot of the cell’s regulation pathway. The course is very exciting and helpful. The experiments in the class will be helpful to my future working.
  • Anonymous
    Very interesting course, motivating teacher, excellent technical support. The course itself is difficult at times. At times, rarely however, more based on mnemonic data than on the possibility of reasoning. For example, transport to and from the nucleus to the cytoplasm could perhaps provide biological motivations that would facilitate storage.
  • Anonymous
    Being a pharmacist for more than 20 years now, my knowledge of basic cell biology is a bit rusty, so I decided to try this course. And I am loving it!
    The instructors are always invinting us to think scientifically about the system under study. They show real experiments that have unraveled the mechanisms explained, and invite us to design new experiments.
    Chalktalk is a great way to communicate, and prof. Lamason is awesome!
    I cannot wait to learn more.
    Thank you for this course!
  • Anonymous
    The description of transport in the cell is precise and easily understandable. The process is magical. There is also the preservation of mechanisms in transport in various locations which makes sense and also makes it easier to remember. The explanation of the experiments is obviously useful to those who plan to do research. It also shows how an intricate process can be elucidated. It adds credence to the description of what is an amazing process.
  • Anonymous
    I am a masters student at department of molecular biology ang genetics. This course help me understand fundamentals of the cell transport and signaling and help me raise my grades in my school. the professor Rebecca explains the course material very detailed and understandable.
  • Profile image for Arturo Escutua
    Arturo Escutua
    Beyond theory, they teach experimental models and how to interrelate theory with research, promoting learning focused on reasoning and assimilation of concepts instead of just memorizing
  • Anonymous
    I am retired, I took this course with patience, and I regret not having passed it ten or 20 years before ... my students would have benefited a lot more.

    I am retired, I took this course with patience, and I regret not having passed it ten or 20 years before ... my students would have benefited a lot more.

    I ask young people to take advantage of these opportunities ...
  • Anonymous
    This course is very comprehensive yet simple .It makes the students understand the concepts thoroughly. And the organization is great. I enjoyed the course.
  • Anonymous
    Everything is explained very well with deep understanding and clarification of concepts. Overall this is great opportunity for anyone who wants to learn about how the things work inside the cell.
  • Anonymous
    Well structured course and accessible with experienced teachers practitioners, what else? A remote real-life lab work overwatch, or a virtual lab :)
    Over all the course is a very pleasant learning experience.
  • Anonymous
    It is a very informative course. The classes are taught well - recordings are very clear. The course material is great. the exercises complement the material quite well.
  • Anonymous
    A very informative and understandable course. If you want to learn more about cell biology I recommend this course.

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