DEVELOPMENTAL BIOLOGY  (Biology 433) : Prof.  Margaret Saha

     The goal of this course is to furnish a solid, comprehensive overview of modern developmental
biology.  This will entail: (1) providing an understanding at the molecular, cellular, and organismal levels
of how organisms develop from a single cell to a functional adult, and (2) developing various skills that will
enable you to understand how new knowledge is obtained and synthesized in this quickly changing field.
Particular emphasis will be placed on the synthetic nature of developmental biology, focusing on its intimate
relationship with modern medicine (e.g. cancer biology, gene therapy), molecular genetics, recombinant
DNA technology, and evolutionary biology.



1/16 Transmitting Information in Four Dimensions : Developmental Biology as a Synthesis
1/18 The Molecular Basis of Development: Differential Gene Expression
1/23 The Molecular Basis of Development: Differential Gene Expression (continued)
1/25 Molecular Biology Interlude:  The Central Dogma and Beyond
1/28 Molecular Biology Interlude:  Molecular Techniques


Gametogenesis : Constructing the Gametes

1/30 Genesis of the Sperm and Egg
2/1 Localization of Cytoplasmic Determinants ...
2/4  ...  and the Beginnings of Asymmetry

Fertilization : Beginning a New Individual

2/6  Union of the Sperm and Egg
2/8  Activation of Egg Metabolism

Cleavage : Creating a Multicellular Organism

2/10  Patterns and Mechanisms of Cleavage : A Problem in Cell Cycle Control
2/13 Induction and Patterning of the “Middle Kingdom”-- (the Mesoderm)
2/15 (continued)

Gastrulation : Emergence of the Basic Body Plan

2/18 The Mechanics of Cell Movement and the Cellular Basis of Morphogenesis
2/20 First Midterm (material through 2/20)
2/22 The Induction of the Nervous System I
2/25 The Induction of the Nervous System II
2/27 Interlude: How to Make a Fruitfly I: Early Regulatory Genes
3/1  How to Make a Fruitfly II: Homeobox Genes
3/11 Pattern Formation in Vertebrates

Organogenesis : Making Functional and Integrated Organ Systems

3/13 Determination and Differentiation of Neuronal Cell Types [
3/15 Wiring the Brain [
3/18 Eye Determination in Flies and Humans
3/20 Muscle Determination
3/22 The Circulatory System : The Vasculature and Heart
3/25 The Circulatory System: The Blood
3/27 Limb Formation
3/29 Sexual Determination and Differentiation from Worms to Humans

Development After Birth

4/1  Growth, Maturation, and Puberty
4/3  Second Midterm  (material through 3/31)
4/5  Aging and Senescence
4/8  Death, Programmed and Otherwise
4/10 Regeneration?? (and the lack thereof)


4/12 Cancer and Uncontrolled Growth: When Developmental Genes Go Awry
4/15  Birth Defects:  Hereditary.....
4/17 ... and Environmental
4/19 The Uses of Developmental Biology ...  Gene Therapy
4/22 ... Stem Cell Therapy
4/24  ... Tissue Engineering
4/26 The Problem of Transmitting Information in Four Dimensions

General Course Information:

Text: Developmental Biology (2003), by Scott Gilbert

Readings: The page numbers listed beside each lecture comprise the reading material that is relevant to
that particular topic.  It is strongly suggested that you read (or at least skim) this material.  Required reading
will be noted on the lecture handouts.  In addition, readings from current primary literature and from the
Web will be assigned.

Grading: The final grade will be based upon the following: two midterm exams (20% each); a final
examination (20%);  an assignment involving the use of basic Web-based bioinformatics tools (20%);  a
written assignment that will involve an intensive analysis of a developmental problem of your choice (20%).
The exams will be a combination of short answer and essay.

Important Dates:   Paper topic due: February 22nd;  Bioinformatics assignment due: March 15th;  Paper
due: April 22nd;  Final Exam: April 30th, 1:30 pm.

Office hours: M&F 11-12, W 9-10, and by appointment;  Room 314 Millington, 221-2407 (office), 253-2472