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CAMB 620 Molecular Mechanisms of Development

Fall 2007 Theme:  (To be determined)

Meets: Tuesdays, 10:00AM sharp – Noon; room 1201, BRB II/III

General Description: The goal of this seminar is to foster discussion about general strategies used by cells and organisms to solve fundamental problems in development. This is not a survey course in Developmental Biology. Rather, we focus on an overarching theme over the semester, enabling us to define the issues central to that theme, and explore the attempts to uncover solutions using different model systems. There is a different focus each year the course is given.  While the theme for the upcoming year is still to be determined, you can gain a sense of this course from prior topics: in Fall 2006, the theme was “Evolutionary Development”; Fall 2005, "Developmental links to Disease"; Fall 2004, "Cell Biology in Development"; Fall 2003, "Stem Cells". Primary research papers are assigned for discussion each week, and all students are expected to contribute thoughtfully and energetically to the discussion each week (see “Format Particulars below).  This is the primary basis for your evaluation (2/3 of your grade).


Students are expected to have a solid foundation in cell and molecular biology. Although there is no developmental biology prerequisite, if you have not had CAMB 511 "Principles of Development" or an equivalent course, you will have trouble in this class and should familiarize yourself with concepts, such as induction, regulation, fate maps, determinants, morphogens, etc, as needed. 

Format Particulars: I will run the first 2/3 of the course, and will have chosen two papers on each week’s specific sub-topic.  However, during the last 1/3 of the course, groups of students will choose the specific sub-topics (and necessary papers), based on areas or issues they found particularly appealing during the first part of the course, and wish to explore further.  You will also be primarily responsible for guiding these discussions.  Your performance in presentation and in guiding its discussion will be 1/3rd of your grade.

Each class is 2 hours in length, of which the last 15 minutes is reserved for introduction to the next week’s topic. The background info necessary will vary with each topic, and may touch on, as needed, the system in general, broad goals, state of affairs at the time of the paper, and/or any special terminology, methodology or familiarity with specific processes involved.

Treatments of these are found in: Principles of Development Wolpert et al, Current Biology Ltd., Oxford University Press; Developmental Biology 6th (& earlier) ed., by Scott F. Gilbert, Sinauer Assoc.; From Egg to Embryo - determinative events in early development 2nd ed., by Jonathan M. W. Slack, Developmental and Cell Biology Series, Cambridge University Press.