This book has existed in some form or another since roughly 2004. It was the brainchild of two pioneering instructors at the Vancouver campus of the University of British Columbia (UBC)—James (Jim) Berger and Ellen Rosenberg, who believed strongly that education should be free and accessible to all. Since then, their original online text has been through many iterations, adapting to the changing body of scientific knowledge and the changing needs of students. In 2010, Robin Young took over curating this material as part of the UBC Vancouver foundational cell biology course, BIOL200. In 2019, the coauthors of this book decided that this work needed to be turned into a more formalized Open Educational Resource so that it would be more widely accessible and then worked to make that happen.
A number of excellent and committed academics have contributed to this work over the past 20 years, including (in no particular order) Nelly Panté, Ljerka Kunst, Ninan Abraham, A. Lacey Samuels, Alicia Mazari, Ken Savage, Sunita Chowrira, Marcia Graves, Megan Barker, Liane Chen, Vivienne Lam, Greg Doheny, and many more. Several researchers at UBC and Oregon State University (OSU) have contributed directly to the content in this newest iteration of the textbook, including Kari van Zee and Rick Cooley, who helped with the addition of the GCE technique, and Caity Smyth, who consulted on the ChIP section. Additionally, feedback from the many teaching assistants, undergraduate peer tutors, and students in UBC’s BIOL200 and OSU’s BB 314 were essential for us.
We would like to thank our funding sources, the Affordable Learning Grant at Oregon State University and the ALT-2040 Fund at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus. This support gave us the resources to have reduced teaching loads, allowed us to hire our illustrator (Heather Ng-Cornish) and our other student worker (Devin Collins), and gave us access to a variety of other support resources that were invaluable in creating this textbook.
This work wouldn’t be possible without the amazing support behind the scenes helping to make this book a reality. In particular, the entire team at OSU Open Education, specifically Stefanie Buck, Mark Lane, and our animations team, were invaluable as we navigated this project. We also appreciate the tireless work of our illustrator, Heather Ng-Cornish, who has created a ton of fantastic images. Without her, this project wouldn’t have gone anywhere. A note of special thanks also to our student worker, Devin Collins, who helped us stay organized!
Many excellent microscopists graciously shared their work with us to include in this book, including Drs. Yoshi Watanabe and Davis Iritani from the Core Microscopy Facility of Agriculture and Agri-Foods Canada’s Summerland Research and Development Centre as well as graduate students Kyle Nguyen from OSU and Shawn Shortill and Lucia Queseda-Ramirez from the Vancouver Campus of UBC. Even more excellent microscopists were open and willing to share their work, even though it didn’t all make it into the final cut. We are grateful to them all.
This textbook includes the work of many folks who have graciously offered their work to the world through open creative commons licenses. We value your commitment to sharing and the principles of the creative commons and open licensing. We are also grateful for the feedback from our reviewers, who carefully read over our work and weren’t afraid to give us an honest opinion when needed. Finally, we’d like to thank everyone who has had to listen to us go on at length about this textbook, including our friends and families, as we worked to figure out how to best support the learning of our students. Your insights and support were key to this entire process. We couldn’t have done this without any of you.
We dedicate this work to past, present, and future cell biology students. We hope that you find something in this work that excites you and that wherever you go from here, you have gained a tiny appreciation for the beautiful complexity of the cells that make up the living world.