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Cell Biology

Cell Biology

The study of the cell, including mitosis and meiosis 

The cell is the basic structural and functional unit of all known living organisms. Cell biology is a field of science that studies cells including their physiology, their structure, and their life cycle. Fundamentals of cell biology include the processes of mitosis and meiosis. Through these processes cells replicate genetic material in preparation for cell division, endowing future cells with instructions for life.

Cell Biology
Images and animations are courtesy of the National Human Genome Research Institute's Talking Glossary (

Materials for Cell Biology


3-D Animations of the Cell, Organelles, and DNA

Description: These short animations focus individually on the cell and its organelles. Collectively, they form a thirteen-part 3-D tour that starts at the cell and ends at DNA.

Cell Size and Scale

Description: An interactive animation illustrating the size of cells and cellular components

From Cell to DNA

Description: This animation takes you through a tour of a typical human cell, moving from larger to smaller cell structures (i.e., from nucleus to chromosomes to DNA strands and their bases).

The Cell: An Image Library

Description: A searchable library of images, videos, and animations of cells


Inside the Cell

Description: A science education booklet exploring the cell

Studying cells

Description: A fact sheet on cells

What is a Cell?

Description: Cells are the basic building blocks of living things. The human body is composed of trillions of cells, all with their own specialized function.

What Students Want to Know About Cells

Description: NIH scientists answer questions from middle and high school students about the cell and careers in research


Cell Snap

Description: This computer game allows you to explore the key features of a human cell. The aim of the game is to match pairs of components from within a human cell.

Fold It

Description: A game designed to tackle the problem of protein folding

Inside the Cell

Description: A cell biology crossword puzzle

Molecular Motors

Description: Discover what controls how fast tiny molecular motors in our body pull through a single strand of DNA. How hard can the motor pull in a tug of war with the optical tweezers? Discover what helps it pull harder. Do all molecular motors behave the same?

Optical Tweezers and Applications

Description: Did you ever imagine that you can use light to move a microscopic plastic bead? Explore the forces on the bead or slow time to see the interaction with the lasers electric field. Use the optical tweezers to manipulate a single strand of DNA and explore the physics of tiny molecular motors. Can you get the DNA completely straight or stop the molecular motor?

Test Your Science IQ

Description: A cell biology quiz for high school students

Interactive Tutorials

Amazing Cells

Description: Information, interactive tutorials, and animations on the structure and function of cells

Biology - Molecular and Cellular Biology

Description: Videos and practice problems teaching core concepts of cell biology, including cell growth and division

How Do Cells Make Proteins?

Description: An interactive tutorial with practice problems teaching how DNA is used to make proteins

HudsonAlpha iCell

Description: A visual tool for learning about 3-dimensional cell structure and function. Students examine images of cells up close, zoom in on organelles, and click to reveal labels and information for each structure.

Life Science

Description: Videos and practice problems teaching core concepts of life science, including the structure and function of cells, cellular reproduction, heredity, evolution and biodiversity

Tree of life - Zooming Into Biomolecules

Description: Zoom down from living things we see with our eyes to the macromolecules from which they are made. Learn about the molecular structure of these macromolecules and where examples of these molecules are located in cells.

Labs & Experiments

Antigen-Antibody Testing: A Visual Simulation or Virtual Reality

Description: This exercise demonstrates the biological phenomenon of the formation of a precipitate when an antigen reacts with an antibody. The exercise can be used to illustrate the specificity of antigen-antibody reactions.

Gene Induction: Beta-galactosidase in E. coli

Description: A laboratory experiment demonstrating how genes are turned on and off in a cell

Teacher Resources

Cell Differentiation and Gene Expression (Lesson Plans/Lesson Activities)

Description: This lesson uses the example of cell differentiation to introduce the concept of differential gene expression.

Cells 2: The Cell as a System (Lesson Plans/Lesson Activities)

Description: In this lesson, students review cell structures and investigate how the components of a cell operate as a system.

cK-12 Foundation - Teachers

Description: Ck-12 Foundation offers life-science simulations to immerse students in an interactive learning experience, practice problems, free full-text FlexBook Textbooks, tools for leading group discussions and more.

MIT OpenCourseWare

Description: MIT departments and degree programs post course information with a syllabus, lecture notes, reading assignments, and additional learning exercises and exams. The site offers a special educator portal to help teachers find specific content for use in their classes.

Teacher Guide - Amazing Cells (Lesson Plans/Lesson Activities)

Description: From the structure and function of organelles to communication on a molecular level, these 8 lesson plans explore the inner-most workings of cells in a dynamic and realistic way.

The Invisible Kingdom (Lesson Plans/Lesson Activities)

Description: This lesson helps students develop an understanding of the characteristics and diversity of microbial life. Readings prompt discussions a variety of topics ranging from antibiotic resistance to horizontal gene transfer.

Using Technology to Study Cellular and Molecular Biology (Lesson Plans/Lesson Activities)

Description: A curriculum supplement for high school students exploring how technology advancements in cell biology have been used to enhanced health

What Can I Learn From Worms? Regeneration, Stem Cells, and Models (Lesson Plans/Lesson Activities)

Description: A series of high quality lesson plans exploring a variety of topics including the cell cycle and the use of model species in biomedical research. You may need to register to view the lesson plans, but the plans and registration is free.


The Cell: An Image Library

Description: A searchable library of images, videos, and animations of cells