Marc David Servetnick
B BIO 460
Studies the biology of embryonic development. Covers major features of development of vertebrates and invertebrates. Topics include: morphological features of early development (fertilization, cleavage, gastrulation, establishment of the body plan), cell determination, pattern formation, molecular biology of early embryos, and introduction to evolutionary developmental biology. Prerequisite: B BIO 360. Offered: Sp.
Developmental Biology is a one quarter course on the principles of animal embryonic development. We will study: • the major morphological features of embryonic development • how cells acquire specialized roles during development • the molecular mechanisms underlying cell differentiation and the establishment of the animal body plan • how development reveals an underlying unity among diverse forms of life.
Student learning goals
• explain fundamental principles of embryonic development
• describe major experimental approaches used in the study of development
• begin to interpret evidence in primary scientific literature in developmental biology
• communicate the results and conclusions of a research paper in developmental biology
General method of instruction
Classes are lecture- and discussion-based. We will read and discuss 4-5 primary research papers during the quarter; the readings complement the classroom topics.
Students must have taken B BIO 200 (Intro to Biology 2: Cell, Molecular and Developmental Biology). B BIO 360 (Intro to Genetics) or equivalent is strongly recommended.
Class assignments and grading
The class provides background on embryonic development, with description of development in several major research organisms. The focus is on molecular mechanisms (gene expression, cell-cell signaling) and learning to read the primary literature in this field.
Grades are based on 1 midterm exam, two mini-exams, class participation, and a final presentation on a research paper in the field. Depending on the size of the class, presentations are done by groups of 2-3 students.