This course concerns the fundamental characteristics of life on earth. All biological organisms are composed of cells, and all cells come from preexisting cells. Cells are the basic building blocks of life and its properties can be explained in physical and chemical terms. Cells take in energy and nutrients from their environment and convert it to biologically useful forms. Genetic information in the form of nucleic acids, which encode all cellular activities, is transmitted from one generation to the next. Mutation and recombination of genetic material, however, cause genetic variation, which in turn enables evolution by natural selection. Emphasis will be on concepts in molecular biology, cell biology and physiology that are of high relevance in biomedical science.