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Developmental Biology

Discover what world-leading research has to say about stem cell applications, genetic technologies and developmental genes in the evolution of species. Meet our experienced teachers and active scientists, and learn from lab practicals and varied teaching activities. The course will prepare you for further studies in many areas of biology and biomedicine.

Chicken embryo and fruitfly embryos. Phot
Left: Chicken embryo at 6 days. Photo: Carolina Biological Supply Company. Right: Fruitfly embryos stained for expression of developmental genes. Photo: Haecker A, Qi D, Lilja T, Moussian B, Andrioli LP, Luschnig S, Mannervik, M.

You will learn how a single cell can generate an organism with hundreds of different cell types in this course. As the fertilized egg divides and generates multiple cells, the embryo becomes patterned through differential gene expression. As stem cells differentiate into specilazed cell types, functional tissues and organs form. The role of cell-cell signaling in these processes will be emphasized.

We will discuss how the embryo takes on its three-dimensional form in a process called morphogenesis. You will also learn how evolution has influenced development, and how embryo devlopment has shaped evolution. A number of different model organisms, including fruit flies (Drosophila), frogs (Xenopus), mouse and plants (Arabidopsis) will illustrate the concepts and principles discussed in the course.

  • Course structure

    The course is taught on campus where lectures, lab practicals and other teaching activities take place.

    In the first week we introduce basic concepts, the second week focuses on patterning the Drosophila embryo, and this is followed by a discussion of vertebrates and plants. Morphogenesis, stem cells and organogenesis, development of the nervous system and post-embryonic development is covered next. In the final week, the link between development and evolution is discussed.

    There are on campus activities virtually everyday during the course, but also time for self-studies.

    Teaching format

    Learning opportunities will be provided by lectures, student assignments, group activities, computer and laboratory exercises, as well as by formative assessments (duggor and lab reports).

    Participation in laboratory exercises, quizzes (duggor), group activities, and teaching activities connected with these are mandatory. The lectures are really important for understanding what to focus on and for understanding difficult concepts.

    Assessment

    The course will be examined through written laboratory reports, student assignments, oral presentations of relevant subjects and a written exam at the end of the course.

    Examiner

    Mattias Mannervik

    Email: mattias.mannervik@su.se
    Telephone: +46 (0)8 16 1565

    Other teachers:
    Christos Samakovlis
    Qi Dai
    Ylva Engström

  • Schedule

    The schedule will be available no later than one month before the start of the course. We do not recommend print-outs as changes can occur. At the start of the course, your department will advise where you can find your schedule during the course.
  • Course literature

    Note that the course literature can be changed up to two months before the start of the course.

    Wolpert, L. et al. Principles of Development. 6th edition. Oxford university press 2014.

  • Course reports

  • More information

    Related research at Stockholm University

    To learn about research in Developmental Biology at Stockholm University, follow these links:

    Research in group Engström

    Research in group Dai

    Research in group Mannervik

    Research in group Samakovlis

    also

    video in Swedish about how fruit flies help us understand how cancerous cells differ from normal cells

  • Contact

    Student office
    Study counsellor at bachelor's level