Cell population dynamics

A.Y. 2021/2022
6
Max ECTS
64
Overall hours
SSD
BIO/06 BIO/13 BIO/17
Language
English
Learning objectives
The course will endow the students with theoretical as well as practical knowledge of cell population dynamics in animal biology. I will focus on examples of concerted cell behaviors that have been biophysically-characterized and/or mathematically modeled. Several aspects of cell populations will be considered and covered: movements, rearrangements, concerted signaling and gene expression. Hands-on activities in the teaching lab will focus on examples of cell polarization and migration in tissue culture, as well as cell rearrangements in vivo using Drosophila melanogaster as a model.
Expected learning outcomes
Students will acquire understanding of the state of the art in studying behaviors of cell populations. In particular:
-they will learn the techniques utilized to visualize cell changes, both those involving averaging and those describing single cells.
- they will be able to select the appropriate system and apply the correct set of descriptors to answer typical quantitative questions in the field of cell and tissue biology.
-they will develop a critical capacity to evaluate relevant experimental examples provided by published studies.
-they will practice communication of the qualitative and quantitative aspects of relevant studies keeping in mind different target audiences.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Responsible
Lesson period
Second semester
More specific information on the delivery modes of training activities for academic year 2021/22 will be provided over the coming months, based on the evolution of the public health situation.
Course syllabus
- modeling of cell movements in cell culture: examples of cell migration, invasion assays, trans-well assays, scratch wound assays, T-cell directed killing of cancer cells etc.
-modeling of cell population changes in cell culture: density/contact
-related changes (contact-inhibition etc), signaling-related examples
(induction of polarization in MDCK cells, epithelial to mesenchymal
transition, growth of spheroids and organoids, etc).
-descriptions of cell behaviors in tissue culture (single cell tracking, cell population heterogenicity, molecular markers and reporters of cell population changes, etc).
-aspects of mechanobiology that can be modeled cell population
studies in cell cultures.
-modeling of concerted cell behavior in vivo (cell migration and cell
intercalation during Drosophila embryogenesis, differentiation and
asymmetric cell divisions in Drosophila larval and pupal development, planar tissue polarization in Drosophila
eye and wing development, morphogen activity in cell
-cell signaling, invasive collective cell migration in border cells and follicle cell rotation in Drosophila ovaries, vasculogenesis and angiogenesis during mouse development, temporal
control of gene expression during mouse somitogenesis and others).
- methods for advanced imaging of live and fixed cells and associated biophysical descriptions.
-Examples of imagingand description of tumor-related cell behaviors
(Drosophila allografts, mouse xenografts, intravital imaging of tumor
cell dissemination in mouse).
-Principles of bioengineering and relative modeling applied to cell
populations
Prerequisites for admission
Bachelor knowledge of cell biology, tissue and tumor biology and
developmental biology, rudiments of genetics and molecular biology.
Teaching methods
I will deliver classroom lectures, supported by slide presentations with ample question time and case study discussion. Lectures will also include student activities (presentations, journal clubs and recreation of other science practice scenarios) inspired by flipped classroom concepts. Practical activities with include hands on analysis of classical quantitative cell and tissue experiments.
Teaching Resources
I will use a set of case papers that pioneered the approaches listed in the topics. The slide presentation and additional material (including video and audio recording of classroom activities upon permission) will be made available together with the annotated set of papers via ARIEL
Assessment methods and Criteria
I will assess the students using a multiple-choice test and oral exam after the end of the course. Depending on the number of students,
I might also evaluate their performance in a set of classroom as well as teaching lab activities
BIO/06 - COMPARATIVE ANATOMY AND CYTOLOGY - University credits: 0
BIO/13 - EXPERIMENTAL BIOLOGY - University credits: 0
BIO/17 - HISTOLOGY - University credits: 0
Practicals: 32 hours
Lessons: 32 hours
Professor: Vaccari Thomas
Professor(s)
Reception:
Thursday 17-18 (by appointment)
office 2b