Learning outcomes

To gain an understanding of the Biology course and review the concepts that are typically taught at high school level. First laboratory experiences in experimental biolgy promoting best learning and understanding.


General scientific knowledge from high school. Teaching methods Active learning using slides with images and data. Videos to better understand or review the topics. Simple practical experiences inlab to visualize in vivo what described in the class.

Teaching methods

Lectures carried out using slides with images and data. Videos to better understand or review the topics. Simple practical exercises in the laboratory to see first hand the topics described during class.


1. Chemical composition of living organisms. The water and its properties. Biological molecules: proteins, nucleic acids, lipids and carbohydrates.
2. The Prokaryotic cell and eukaryotic cells. Cell membranes and cell organelles: their structure and function.
3. Genetic code, cell division, reproduction and inheritance DNA and genes. Genetic code. Transcription. Protein synthesis. Mitosis and meiosis. Mendelian genetics. Animal Reproduction.
4. Basis of anatomy and physiology of animals. Tissues, organs and systems in animals. Circulatory system. Respiratory system. Digestive system. Nervous system.
5. Elements of bioenergetics. Energy flow and biological significance of photosynthesis, glycolysis, fermentation and aerobic respiration. The importance of ATP. Autotrophic and heterotrophic metabolism.
6. Principles of classification and phylogeny of living organisms. The Elements of evolution. Biodiversity. Classification systems. Evolutionary processes. Darwinism and neo-darwinism.

Practical activities in the laboratory
1. Laboratory rules. Emergency rules. Knowledge of different Chemical reagents and the different labels on chemicals. Lab equipment. Chemistry laboratory glasswares. Common lab instruments and their use. Description of the different types of microscopes. Practical use of light microscope and stereoscopic microscope. Observation of a fresh preparation of onion cells with a light microscope. Observation of different preparations of  Protists (Amoeba,Paramecium, Euglena, Volvox, Dinoflagellate, Pandorina, Spirostomum) with the light microscope.
2. Dissection of a chicken to identify the different organs of the digestive system, skeletal system and circulatory system. Observation of the istology preparations and the different types of animal tissues with a light microscope.
3. Seminar lessons on practical topics and the topicality of the biology course. This year the laboratory topics will focus on  Molecular Modelling, Basic Micology and Agricultural Science.


  • High school Biology books in Italian.
  • Corso di scienze integrate. Sparvoli et al. Edizioni Atlas
  • Biologia. Cavazzuti e Damiano. Edizione Zanichelli
  • Invito alla Biologia. Curtis et al. Edizione Zanichelli
  • High school book in English Biology, Coursebook. Cambridge IGCSE. Jonese and Jones. Edizione Cambridge University press

Assessment methods

Two multiple-choice tests.
First test on subjects described in the Syllabus at points 1, 2, 3.
Second test on subjects described in the Syllabus at points 4, 5, 6

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Università di Pisa
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56126 Pisa
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C.F. 80003670504

Tel +39 050 221 2111
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Numero Verde Studenti 800-018600