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Stem Cells in Developmental- and Cancer Biology

What makes stem cells special? This course covers topics from basic knowledge on different types of stem cells to the molecular mechanisms regulating unique properties of stem cells. You will also improve skills on scientific thinking and communication through small group training on theoretical and experimental practice.

Schematic picture of stem cell differentiation
Picture by Qi Dai: adapted from previous student's lab work

Mechanisms of cell differentiation and de-differentiation, reprogramming, induction of pluripotent cells, and the signaling pathways controlling these processes will be discussed. Important aspects of stem cell regulation, such as epigenetic changes, the presence of a niche, and asymmetric cell division will be covered. Medical applications, mainly stem cell therapy and consequences of the cancer stem cell concept for cancer treatment, will be discussed.

  • Course structure

    The course is arranged in a weekly basis, with each week covering a new topic. Within each week, learning activities include attending lecture, studying through reading selected literature, assignments and group discussions. Lab work is planned along theoretical study in the first three weeks.

    Teaching format

    The education consists of seminars, laboratory work and supervised small group exercises which include oral presentation and writing a research proposal. Participation in seminars, laboratory exercises and group education is compulsory.

    Lab work

    The lab exercise is to learn and practice manipulation of stem cells. You will culture neural stem cells, assess their self-renewal and multipotency properties and conduct immunofluorescent staining and imaging of cells.

    Learning outcomes

    A list of the learning outcomes can be found in the syllabus. Please find the link to the syllabus on the right side of this page.


    Measurement of knowledge takes place through answering assignments, writing practice and oral presentations.


    Qi Dai


  • 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.

    No mandatory course book.

  • Course reports

  • Contact

    Student office
    Study counsellor (advanced level)