BIS 2A: Introductory Biology

by Sheena M Campbell – August 22, 2021

This guide is designed to connect BIS-2A students with a spectrum of resources that can provide clarification, add nuance, and/or inspire further exploration of course concepts. This guide includes resources that will help you to form a holistic understanding of the cellular basis of life.

Off Campus Access

Accessing library resources from off-campus will require you to install and activate our VPN, which enables you to log into our subscription-based electronic collections. If you have any question or issues with the library VPN, check out our information page: https://www.library.ucdavis.edu/service/connect-from-off-campus/

If you have any questions about accessing these resources, would like guidance in finding additional sources, or maybe you have a resource in mind you’d like the library to obtain for you–please reach out to Sheena!

Sheena Campbell

Student Services Department
Student Services Librarian

scampbell@ucdavis.edu

530-752-3058

In this Guide:

Types of Resources Featured in this Guide

stack of books icon

Reference Sources: Get a Quick Overview

Background sources like encyclopedias, dictionaries, and handbooks can help provide clarification for topics and concepts covered in your course readings. Most entries will include helpful links and images, as well as related terms and further readings.


book iconBooks: Gain Deeper Insight

Books (print and electronic) will provide a comprehensive view of course topics and concepts. While course readings introduce you to topics and processes, books devoted to these concepts have the space to examine them in-depth if you would like to nuance your understanding of course topics.


video player iconVideo: Great for Visual Learners

Videos can help us learn more quickly and effectively than text alone. The human brain processes information faster and retains it longer when paired with visualizations. Plus if you’re someone who likes repetition, watching a video tutorial after you’ve done the readings can help to reinforce what you’ve learned.


3-D simulation of a chemical bond iconDigital Tools: Apply Concepts

Digital tools like 3D models, simulations, and games can help you gain a deeper knowledge of course concepts through interaction. These tools enable you to observe and manipulate the processes of biological phenomena and help to to visualize underlying mechanisms.

Macromolecules

Background Sources 

Study Guides

  • Molecular & Cell Biology for Dummies – This easy-to-understand guide explains the structure and function of the cell and get up to speed on the structure of atoms, types of bonds, carbohydrates, proteins, DNA, RNA, and lipids.

Books

Videos

JoVE’s Macromolecules Video Tutorials

Digital Tools

ChemTube3D – Interactive 3D Models

HHMI BioInteractive

Cell Biology

Background Sources 

  • Encyclopedia of Cell Biology – 285 articles covering every aspect of cell biology, with fully annotated figures and illustrations for full comprehension of concepts.

Study Guides

  • Molecular & Cell Biology for Dummies – This easy-to-understand guide explains the structure and function of the cell and get up to speed on the structure of atoms, types of bonds, carbohydrates, proteins, DNA, RNA, and lipids.

eBooks

  • Cell Biology – covers key principles of cellular function with richly illustrated content.

Videos

JoVE’s Cellular Processes Video Tutorials

Digital Tools

Genetics

Background Sources

  • Brenner’s Encyclopedia of Genetics – over 1600 articles provide definitions of key terms, suggestions for further reading, and biographical sketches of the key people in the history of genetics.

Study Guides

  • Genetics for Dummies – provides students with easy-to-understand information about genes, genetics, and genomic sequencing.

eBooks

  • Molecular Biology – introduces basic concepts of genetics including DNA sequencing, gene transcription, RNA processing, protein structure, and gene expression.

Videos

Digital Tools

Genetic Science Learning Center

Background sources like encyclopedias, dictionaries, and handbooks can help provide clarification and additional context for topics and concepts covered in your course readings.

If there is a topic you want to explore, simply perform a keyword search (ex. amino acids) using the index or search tool to identify the entry related to your area of interest. Most entries will include helpful links and images, as well as related terms and further readings.

Encyclopedia of Cell Biology

encyclopedia of cell biology book cover

Includes articles covering every aspect of cell biology, with fully annotated figures, abundant illustrations, videos, and references for further reading.

The Dictionary of Cell & Molecular Biology

Provides definitions for thousands of terms used in the study of cell and molecular biology.  This dictionary serves equally as a handy reference, spelling, and fact-checker for students, research scientists, and the curious lay reader.

Molecular Life Sciences: An Encyclopedia

molecular life sciences book cover

Provides a comprehensive survey of modern biochemistry and molecular biology. Each entry is written to be accessible to non-expert users, noting where terms are often confused and providing recommended terms and alternative names.

Encyclopedia of Biological Chemistry

Helps to define and explore contemporary biochemistry, understanding that every living process from physiology, to immunology, and genetics is impossible without a grasp on the basic chemistry that provides its underpinning.

Brenner's Encyclopedia of Genetics

Provides short entries that briefly define key terms, and a guide to additional reading and relevant websites for further study. Many of the entries include figures to explain difficult concepts. Key terms in related areas such as biochemistry, cell, and molecular biology are also included.

Comprehensive Biophysics

This work provides definitive introductions to a broad array of topics including individual volumes with a range of articles on molecular motility, cell membranes and channels, bioenergetics, proteins and nucleic acids.

Below are some examples of books related to your BIS 2A course content, but you can perform a search through the library catalog to find books in your area of interest, or use subject categories to browse our collection.

Cell Biology

Covers key principles of cellular function and uses them to explain how molecular defects lead to cellular dysfunction. Concise text and graphics simplify complex information to help readers make the most of their study time.

Cell Physiology Source Book

Provides clear, concise, and comprehensive coverage of all aspects of cellular physiology from fundamental concepts to more advanced topics and includes full color illustrations.

Case Studies in Cell Biology

Guides the reader in applying knowledge directly to real world scenarios using case studies to bridge foundational cell biological concepts to translational science. Aids students in synthesizing information and applying science processes.

Molecular Biology

Introduces basic concepts of genetics including DNA sequencing, gene transcription, RNA processing, protein structure, and gene expression.

Understanding DNA: The Molecule & How It Works

Explains, step by step, how DNA forms specific structures, the nature of these structures and how they fundamentally affect the biological processes of transcription and replication.

A Primer on Cell and Molecular Biology

Beginning with an introduction to cells and concluding with an overview of current techniques in cellular and molecular biology, each chapter covers core concepts, clarifying each individually and creating a set of building blocks that allow students to fully comprehend one aspect of the subject matter before moving on to the next.

Biochemistry : the chemical reactions of living cells

This is a basic guide to chemical structures and reactions of living cells. The first three chapters of this book contain introductory material on cell structure, molecular architecture, and bioenergetics.

Fundamentals of biochemistry : life at the molecular level
Molecular Biology of the Cell

Covering fundamental concepts and meaning from this enormous and ever-growing field, the authors tell the story of cell biology, and create a coherent framework through which non-expert readers may approach the subject.

Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE)

Search JoVE’s video database by entering keywords related to your topic (ex. Mitosis and Cytokinenses) to find animations and video tutorials.

Harvard LabXchange

Search LabXchange’s video library by entering keywords related to your topic (ex. Mitochondria) to find animations and video tutorials.

HHMI BioInteractive

Search HHMI BioInteractive library of animated and interactive videos by entering keywords related to your topic (ex. ATP Synthesis) to find animations and video tutorials.

Ameoba Sisters

The Ameoba Sisters YouTube Channel provides animated video tutorials with the goal of ‘demystify science with humor and relevant examples drawn from everyday life.’

Kanopy Film Database

Kanopy is a streaming video library similar to Netflix, but focusing on educational films and documentaries. Content includes videos for Biology, Chemistry, and Environmental Science.

Harvard LabXchange

Interactive content includes simulations, virtual labs, and tutorials:

HHMI BioInteractive

Interactive content includes 3-D models, virtual labs, and tutorials:

PhET Simulations - Biology

The PhET Interactive Simulations project at the University of Colorado Boulder creates free interactive math and science simulations. PhET sims an intuitive, game-like environment where students learn through exploration and discovery.

The Cell Image Library

This library is a public and easily accessible resource database of images, videos, and animations of cells, capturing a wide diversity of organisms, cell types, and cellular processes.

Visual Elements Periodic Table

The Royal Society of Chemistry’s interactive periodic table features history, alchemy, podcasts, videos, and data trends across the periodic table.

Virtual Cell Collection

This collection from the North Dakota State University of still images provides step-by-step illustrations of cell functions including the citric acid cycle, glycolysis, and mitosis.

(*note that the site’s animated videos are generated from the still images utilizing flash–click on the “First Look” links to access images. Animated videos will no longer be accessible after flash player end-of-life)

Research Assistance

The UC Davis Library provides a variety of reference and research assistance services, from online chat to virtual consultations. Get help with course assignments, and research projects. Let us help you get the most out of collections and services.

BioInnovation Group

An on-campus, undergraduate-run research group. Their goal is to help motivated students develop technical lab skills and leadership abilities by applying themselves to projects with real-world impacts.

Molecular and Cellular Biology Club

The MCB Club is a group of students interested in learning about molecular and cellular biology. Meet fellow students and get involved in the life sciences. During meetings, guest speakers such as research professors or health professionals speak to the club in addition to fun social events for members. The MCB Club is open to students of all majors.