Biology of development and differentiation

A.Y. 2021/2022
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course aims at providing the necessary tools for understanding the genetic, molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the development and differentiation of multicellular organisms. In particular, the course has the following specific educational objectives: 1. provide the tools to understand the role of biological processes, such as proliferation, cell death, cell-cell communication and cell migration, during development and differentiation; 2. provide the tools to understand the applicability of different techniques of gene editing and of the different animal models to study the mechanisms of development and differentiation; 3. provide tools for understanding the role of genes and their mutations in the pathogenesis of genetic diseases by using different animal models and experimental approaches.
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of the course the student should have basic knowledge on the cellular, molecular and genetic mechanisms that govern the development and differentiation of multicellular organisms. In particular, the student should know how the mechanisms of proliferation, cell death, gene expression, cell-cell communication are integrated during the development of multicellular organisms. The student must be able to understand the scientific and methodological approach used for the functional study of genes / proteins involved in developmental and differentiation biology, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of using different animal models in biomedical research.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First semester
Should the health emergency continue for the academic year 2021/2022, the lessons will be held on the Microsoft Teams platform. The lessons can be followed both synchronously based on the timetable of the first semester and asynchronously because the recordings of the lessons will be made available to students on the same platform and possibly on the Ariel platform.
Where possible, part of the hands-on demonstrations will be held in the laboratory and the remaining hours will be held online, with activities in small groups.
Course syllabus
The topics covered during the course will be:
- Biological basis and experimental techniques for the study of developmental mechanisms and
differentiation of an animal organism.
- Cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying developmental biology: the
control of gene expression, cell communication: the gradients and the
process of cellular induction, proliferation and death, adhesion and migration.
- Experimental animal models for the study of development (C.Elegans,
Drosophila Melanogaster, Danio Rerio, Mus Musculus)
-Phases of development and organogenesis: fertilization; gastrulation; the
ectoderm / mesoderm / endoderm derivatives;
- Techniques for obtaining stem cells: genetic reprogramming.
- Techniques for obtaining genetically modified animal models.
Prerequisites for admission
To attend the Course the student should have the basic knowledge of Cell Biology, Genetics and Molecular Biology
Teaching methods
Frontal lessons, seminars given by experts and practical demonstrations in the laboratory
Teaching Resources
Students will be provided with slides and scientific articles presented during the lectures; as an in-depth text it is recommended: "Fundamentals of
developmental biology "by Jonathan M. Slack.
Assessment methods and Criteria
There will be two exam modalities: either a written test (1 open question and 5 multiple choice questions) or a presentation (max group of 3 students) of a scientific article related to the course or a classical oral exam on topics of the Course.
BIO/13 - EXPERIMENTAL BIOLOGY - University credits: 6
Single bench laboratory practical: 16 hours
Lessons: 40 hours