Science at the heart of medicine

7021 Topics in Developmental Biology and Disease

COURSE DESCRIPTION: The field of developmental biology combines classical embryology, cell biology, modern molecular biology and genetics in the context of the whole organism. Developmental biology discoveries have made significant contributions toward our understanding of basic cellular processes including signal transduction, cell proliferation, differentiation, and morphogenesis. The Topics in Developmental Biology and Disease course will highlight fundamental principles of classical and modern developmental biology in the context of developmental problems that are being pursued at Einstein. The topics will include stem cells, asymmetric cell division, cellular polarity, morphogenesis and patterning, microRNA contribution to development, and human development/birth defects. Many of the mechanisms underlying embryonic development are also hijacked by cells in disease states. Therefore, developmental biology discoveries have historically contributed to and are expected to continue to contribute toward understanding birth defects and pathogenic processes, such as cancer. Aspects of mouse, human, Xenopus, zebrafish, Drosophila, and C. elegans development will be compared. Conserved molecular and evolutionary features of development will be common themes. In addition, how developmental principles have been and continue to be applied to further our understanding of disease will be explored.

SUGGESTED MATERIALS: Developmental Biology, Gilbert, Scott F., ISBN: 9781605351735

PREREQUISITES: A background in Molecular Genetics and Gene Expression or similar courses will be beneficial. However, students without this background can be considered on an individual basis, and should consult the course leaders for advice.


SUITABLE FOR 1ST YEAR STUDENTS: Yes, with suitable undergraduate preparation, or if they have taken courses similar to those described above in the prerequisite section.

UNIQUE TRAINING OFFERED IN THIS COURSE: Students will learn and discuss concepts of modern and traditional developmental biology, and learn to appreciate their utility for the study of complex diseases. They will actively participate in group exercises and journal clubs.

STUDENT ASSESSMENTS: This year's course will highlight fundamental concepts in classical and modern developmental biology and how developmental systems further our understanding of disease. In addition to formal presentations, faculty will facilitate exercises, presentations and discussions by students for some of the sessions. Evaluation will be based on presentations and class participation in discussions and exercises. No more than 2 classes may be missed.