BIO1011 - Blueprints for Life

General Unit Information

BIO1011 – Blueprints for Life is an ideal unit for students who wish to pursue a career in an area related to biology, or who are just interested in biology. It is a stand-alone unit that explores all of the characteristics that together define life as we know it: the organisation of the simplest unit of life - the cell; the ability of cells to divide, grow and form complex specialised tissues; the transfer of genetic information from one generation to the next; the use and generation of energy; and the processes by which organisms age and die.

The noted science journalist Robin Williams has suggested that while the 20th century was the century of physics, the 21st century will be the century of biology. This is due to the increasing importance to the world of a sustainable and healthy environment and the stunning advances being made in the areas of genetics, medicine and ecology. BIO1011 provides a thorough introduction to biological processes from the level of cell biochemistry to that of whole organisms, viewing these processes through the lens of evolution and placing them firmly in the context of real-world challenges and solutions, with direct reference to latest research endeavours.

BIO1011 provides a suitable introduction for students wishing to pursue a career in any of the biological, environmental, or biomedical sciences. To complete an appropriate first year sequence, leading to a minor or major in any of these discipline areas, students should further their study in either (or both) BIO1022 and BIO1042. This is a sound basis for further study in the biological disciplines including medicine and environmental science. BIO1011 provides students with skills in library research, approaches to scientific methods, use of basic laboratory equipment, and data evaluation and presentation. The practical section of the subject introduces and stresses the experimental approach used when studying problems at various levels of biological organisation. Practicals are taught in a modern, well-equipped laboratory complex that has a variety of multimedia and computing resources.

The unit does not assume prior knowledge of biology however, students who have done VCE Biology will be challenged and stimulated by the content and presentation of the course. However, the flexible learning structure of the subject, with considerable staff and multimedia support and extensive self-learning opportunities, means that students who have no prior learning in biology can still excel.

Bridging Course

The BIO1011 Bridging Course is available for all students enrolled in BIO1011. It is designed for students who have not undertaken VCE Biology or equivalent, or who need to brush up on their biology knowledge before undertaking first year biology at Monash.

For more information on the BIO1011 Bridging Course, please click here.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Identify and describe the concepts, processes and practical applications of cell biology, biochemistry, genetics, molecular biology and microbiology in society and everyday human life;
  2. Demonstrate proficiency in communicating scientific results through a range of formats (written and oral);
  3. Formulate hypotheses, collect experimental data and demonstrate proficiency in interpreting their results;
  4. Demonstrate competence and precision in the use of common life sciences equipment and techniques;
  5. Utilise research skills including database searches to synthesise and interpret information related to scientific research, using appropriate conventions for scientific attribution;
  6. Work effectively, responsibly, safely and ethically, both individually and in peer or team contexts.

Specific Unit Information

Unit Coordinators
Names Dr. Thomas Hiscox (Clayton)
Dr. Lee Wai Leng (Malaysia)
Email Tom:
Wai Leng:
OfficeTom: 23Rnf/G07
Wai Leng: Building 4, Level 8, Room 37 (4837)
Office HoursMon - Fri (by appointment)
PhoneTom: +61 3 9905 9986
Wai Leng: +60 3 5514 6098
Senior Teaching Staff
NamesDr. Callum Vidor (Clayton)
Dr. Kelly Merrin (Clayton)
Dr. Lim Voon Ching (Malaysia) 
Office Hours Mon - Fri (by appointment)
Phone Callum: +61 3 9905 0055
Kelly: +61 3 9905 9545
VC: +60 3 5515 9609 
Teaching Technical Coordinators
Names Mr. Brenton Marshall (Clayton)
Mr. Christopher Wilson (Clayton)
Ms. Shirley Davy-Prefumo (Clayton)
Office HoursMon - Fri (by appointment)
Phone Brenton: +61 3 9902 4630
Chris: +61 3 9905 5624
Shirley: +61 3 9905 4865
Prescribed Biology: How Life Works, Morris, J. 2016, 2nd Edition, Macmillan Education.
Recommended Henderson's Dictionary of Biology, Lawrence, E. 2011, 15th Edition, Pearson Education.
Program for 2021
University Handbook Entry BIO1011 - Synopsis, Assessment & Prerequisites
Schedule BIO1011 - Timetable of Topics 2021
Important Links
Science Faculty Information for Current Students
University Information for Students - Timetables, Exam, Semester Dates, more.....