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Science Education: Cell Biology

A scanning electron microscope picture of a nerve ending. Credit:Tina Carvalho, University of Hawaii at Manoa.Understanding the structure and function of cells and their many parts, in health and in disease—that's cell biology. Studies in cell biology focus on questions like:

  • How do cells move, communicate, divide and ultimately die?
  • How are cellular components made and maintained?
  • What tools do we need to study cells up close and in real time?

Follow the links below to learn more about cell biology,including recent developments, and read profiles of researchers working in this field.



Booklets

Cover image of Inside the CellInside the Cell
Explores the interior design of cells and vividly describes the processes that take place within cellular organelles and structures.

Cover image of The Structures of LifeThe Structures of Life
Reveals how understanding the shape of biological molecules involved in many cellular processes provides insight into health and disease.

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Classroom Poster

Seeing Cells PosterSeeing Cells Poster
Displays a variety of cell images and some basic facts about cells.

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Fact Sheet

A dividing cell. Credit: Jean Cook and Ted Salmon Labs, University of North Carolina School of MedicineStudying Cells
Trillions of cells make up our bodies, and researchers continue to learn more about their features and functions. Discover some recent advances.

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Science Highlights

The ECM: A Dynamic System for Moving Our Cells
A gelatinous material found within and between cells called the extracellular matrix (ECM) helps body cells move around, a process vital for wounds to heal and a fetus to grow.

The Extracellular Matrix, a Multitasking Marvel
A gelatinous material found within and between cells called the extracellular matrix (ECM) guides cell shape, orientation and function.

Image of an adeno-associated virus. Cool Images: An Independence Day-Inspired Collection
In case you missed the fireworks over the Fourth of July weekend, we’ve put together this collection of firework-like images from basic research studies.

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Profiles: Meet a Scientist

Rebecca HealdThe Science of Size: Rebecca Heald Explores Size Control in Amphibians
Cell biologist Rebecca Heald studies the factors that determine an animal’s size.

De La CruzProtein Paradox: Enrique De La Cruz Aims to Understand Actin
Molecular biophysicist Enrique De La Cruz studies how a chain of molecules strong enough to support a cell can break so easily—and uses props to help others understand what he’s learned.

Ron ValeSharing 'Behind the Scene' Stories About Scientific Discoveries
Motor protein scientist Ron Vale answers questions about a science education project that gives people around the world broader access to research seminars and conveys the excitement of the discovery process.

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Audio and Video

Protesosome. Credit: Andreas Martin, University of California, BerkeleyThe Proteasome: The Cell’s Trash Processor in Action
Our cells are constantly removing and recycling molecular waste. This video shows one way cells process their trash.

A microtubule, part of the cell's skeleton, builds and deconstructs. Credit: Eva Nogales lab, University of California, Berkeley.Cool Video: How a Microtubule Builds and Deconstructs
In a process critical for many biological activities, tubulin proteins snap into place to build a microtubule, part of the cell's skeleton, which then falls to pieces from its top end.

Credit: Huey Huang, Rice University. Cool Video: How Bee Venom Toxin Kills Cells
A new video that shows how a toxin destroys an animal or bacterial cell might help scientists design new drugs to combat bacterial infections.

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Images

Xanthophores Pigment Cells: Not Just Pretty Colors
Images of neural crest cells in fish and salamanders showcase the beauty and versatility of pigment cells in nature’s palette.

Mitochondria. Credit: Thomas Deerinck, National Center for Microscopy and Imaging ResearchA Labor Day-themed collection: Hard-working cell structures
Here are some of the tireless cellular workers that keep our bodies going and healthy.

Computer-generated sketch of a DNA origami folded into a flower-and-bird structure. Credit: Hao Yan, Arizona State University. DNA Origami
This image shows the latest capability of a technique for folding DNA into complex arrangements, which might find future use in biomedical applications.

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Quizzes and Puzzles

Cells Professor Cartoon Test Your Science IQ! Game: Cells
HTML Versions: High School Level | College Level | Graduate Level
Interactive Version

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Inside the Cell puzzle Inside the Cell Crossword Puzzle | Accessible Version

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This page last reviewed on September 27, 2016