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This subject introduces students to advanced research topics in modern stem cell biology with respect to current roles of stem cells in development of organisms, regenerative medicine and ethical considerations of biotechnological applications.
Different types of stem cells will be discussed with emphasis on embryonic stem cells compared to adult stem cells and roles in embryonic development and adult tissue regeneration. Diseases such as cancer, anaemia etc., will be discussed in terms of dysregulation of tissue regeneration.
New therapies based on stem cells such as in vitro production of organs, stem cell transplantation and cloning will be presented along with the ethical dilemmas posted by these advances. The subject will also cover the latest advances in iPS cell technology and what this tells us about the nature of pluripotency.
Intended learning outcomes
To develop student awareness and knowledge of the major concepts relating to stem cell biology and regenerative medicine;
To cultivate an appreciation and understanding of the major areas of ethical contention in medical applications of stem cell biology;
To increase students’ knowledge of the experimental approaches and strategies used in stem cell research and medicine, and to think of ways that these could be applied to specific questions in biology or medicine;
To teach students to think critically about the new potentials, limitations and weaknesses that are associated with scientific advances in stem cell biology.
Analysing complex scientific issues;
Making a constructive critique of a scientific proposal;
Performing written communication skills at a high standard;
Contributing to intellectual discussion;
Analysing how science interacts with society.
Last updated: 2 December 2019