Methods in experimental embriology

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The aim of the teaching is to teach students the basic biological-molecular aspects of embryonic development of some reference biological models. The knowledge of these aspects derives mainly from the analysis of the effects determined by the experimental alteration of normal development processes.
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of the teaching the student will have acquired the basic skills of some of the main methods of embryo manipulation and subsequent analysis. Finally, he will have to demonstrate that he has achieved a certain ability to understand and solve biological problems related to embryonic development. This approach, also of an experimental type, will allow the student to have the bases to face in an autonomous way the biological themes related to the embryonic development that he could meet in future studies.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First semester
The lessons - asynchronous - will be delivered in the form of presentations whose slides will be commented by the teacher. The presentations will be available, without time limits, through the Ariel teaching site. In addition, the presentations will, again on Ariel, also be made available in pdf format. A forum will always be available on the same platform through which learners can communicate directly with the teacher. Then, on a regular basis, synchronous meetings via Microsoft Teams will follow, during which the latest (in chronological order) asynchronous lessons will be the subject of discussion and, if necessary, of in-depth analysis.
The exam methods change from what was expected: the written exam, as illustrated in the assessment criteria, is converted into an oral interview that will take place using, again, the Microsoft Teams platform. During this interview, some of the topics covered during the course will be discussed. All topics contained in the presentations will be potential subject of examination.
Course syllabus
The teaching focuses on the study of the embryonic development of Vertebrates through the experimental embryology lenses, which involves understanding the physiological mechanisms of development by artificially altering their normal events. To this end, the main animal models will be introduced and the students will become familiar with embryo manipulation techniques (among others, tissue and cell transplants, transgenesis, transient or stable gene inactivation, ectopic gene expression), both through the study of the novel, more innovative approaches and the reinterpretation, through the most modern technologies, of the pioneering experiments of experimental embryologists of past centuries. Furthermore, the methodologies in use to modulate the cellular plasticity typical of embryonic stages will be learned, also using cellular models such as embryonic stem cells of both murine and human type.
At the end of the course, the student will have acquired a certain ability in understanding and solving biological problems related to embryonic development.
Prerequisites for admission
Developmental Biology, Genetics, Molecular Biology
Teaching methods
The interaction between teachers and students is based on frontal lessons supported by the production of material in the form of electronic slides which will be presented during classes and made available for download on the dedicated Ariel website. We want to highlight the fact that, being a subject in continuous evolution and for which there are no real reference texts, much of the proposed material is extrapolated from the scientific literature. Therefore, the use of the educational material made available is strongly recommended. In the classroom context, the students will be actively involved in the discussion of the topics concerning the program, so as to develop their critical skills, rework the acquired concepts and communicate them appropriately.
Finally, constant attendance at lessons is highly recommended.
Teaching Resources
· Gilbert SF, Biologia dello sviluppo, Zanichelli.
· Slack J, Essential developmental biology, Blackwell Science.
· Wolpert L, Biologia dello sviluppo, Zanichelli.
· The scientific publications examined during classes represent a main part of the study program.
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam consists of a single written test lasting 2 hours. It comprises 4 questions (possible further 'sub-questions'), each of which is worth a maximum of 7.5 points.
The timetable of the exams is always present on the SIFA website, not necessarily the location. In the event that SIFA does not provide this information, please consult the 'EXAMS OF THE DAY' list posted in the hall of the Department of Biosciences (DBS), via Celoria 26, on the day of the test.
Lessons: 48 hours
Ask for an appointment via email
Biosciences Dept, building (torre) B, 7th floor