COURSE OUTLINE: BS3010

Course Title

Current Topics in Stem Cell and Developmental Biology

Course Code

BS3010

Offered Study Year 3, Semester 2
Course Coordinator Karjalainen, Klaus (Prof) Klaus@ntu.edu.sg 6514 1033
Pre-requisites BS1005, BS1006, BS1007
No of AUs 3
Contact hours Lectures: 26, Tutorials: 13
Approved for delivery from AY 2018/19, semester 1
Last revised 19 Oct 2018, 09:23

Course Aims

This course aims to develop in students some critical knowledge about stem cell biology. The status of stem cell research, utilization and future potential is discussed. You are expected to be able to cut through media hype and develop a deeper understanding of the ethical considerations in this important field.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Upon successfully completing this course, you should be able to:

  1. Apply ES concepts to determine chimeric outcomes
  2. Speculate on outcomes from descriptions of stem cell experiments
  3. Determine potential clinical outcomes of stem cell therapies
  4. Troubleshoot potential practical problems of stem cell experiments

Course Content

Pluripotency - basic molecular mechanisms for stem cells

Stem cell activity in early embryos

Hematopoetic stem cells - in theory and practice

Muscle stem cells

Neuronal stem cells

Stem cell epigenetics - decoration of epigenetic marks in stem cells

Mammary and breast cancer stem cells

Ethics of stem cell research and application

Directed differentiation to pancreas

Skin stem cells

Intestinal stem cells

Assessment

Component Course ILOs tested SBS Graduate Attributes tested Weighting Team / Individual Assessment Rubrics
Continuous Assessment
Assignment 1, 2, 3, 4 1. a, b, c, d
2. a
10 individual See Appendix for rubric
Mid-semester Quiz
Multiple Choice Questions 1, 2, 3 1. a, b, c, d
2. a
12 individual
Short Answer Questions 1, 2, 3 1. a, b, c, d
2. a
18 individual See Appendix for rubric
Examination (1.5 hours)
Multiple Choice Questions 1, 2, 3 1. a, b, c, d
2. a
60 individual
Total 100%

These are the relevant SBS Graduate Attributes.

1. Recognize the relationship and complexity between structure and function of all forms of life, resulting from an academically rigorous in-depth understanding of biological concepts

a. Possess a conceptual framework that identifies the relationships between the major domains in the field of biology.

b. Explain the relationship between structure and function of all forms of life at the molecular level

c. Explain the relationship between structure and function of all forms of life at the cellular level

d. Explain the relationship between structure and function of all forms of life at the organism level

2. Critically evaluate and analyze biological information by applying the knowledge, scientific methods and technical skills associated with the discipline

a. Identify the assumptions behind scientific problems and issues

Formative Feedback

After each assignment is marked, tutors discuss the responses and give advice on what can be improved. This helps you to achieve earning outcomes 1, 2, 3, 4.

At the end of the semester, a summary of the mid-semester quiz results is discussed with the whole class, so that it will help with final examination preparation. This helps you to achieve earning outcomes 1, 2, 3, 4.

After the final examination, an examiner's report will be published on NTULearn, giving a summary of the semester's learning achievements and points for improvement. This helps you to achieve earning outcomes 1, 2, 3, 4.

Learning and Teaching Approach

Lectures
(26 hours)

This course is taught by a mix of internal and external lecturers who are experts in their various fields, thus giving you a broad in-depth overview of the topics. This helps you to achieve all 4 learning outcomes.

Tutorials
(13 hours)

You will experience a variety of tasks during the tutorials based on the particular difficulties of each topic and the experience and knowledge of the external lecturers. You will also be given an opportunity to discuss your doubts. This helps you to achieve all 4 learning outcomes.

Reading and References

Molecular Biology of Cells, 6th edition by Alberts, B. et al. 2014 Garland Science, ISBN 9780815344322.

Also consult Nature, Science and Cell magazines.

Course Policies and Student Responsibilities

You are expected to make the most of the opportunity to listen to world class experts in the field and attend all lectures and tutorials, and to actively participate in any discussions.

Academic Integrity

Good academic work depends on honesty and ethical behaviour. The quality of your work as a student relies on adhering to the principles of academic integrity and to the NTU Honour Code, a set of values shared by the whole university community. Truth, Trust and Justice are at the core of NTU’s shared values.

As a student, it is important that you recognize your responsibilities in understanding and applying the principles of academic integrity in all the work you do at NTU. Not knowing what is involved in maintaining academic integrity does not excuse academic dishonesty. You need to actively equip yourself with strategies to avoid all forms of academic dishonesty, including plagiarism, academic fraud, collusion and cheating. If you are uncertain of the definitions of any of these terms, you should go to the Academic Integrity website for more information. Consult your instructor(s) if you need any clarification about the requirements of academic integrity in the course.

Course Instructors

Instructor Office Location Phone Email
Karjalainen, Klaus (Prof) 04n-23 6514 1033 Klaus@ntu.edu.sg

Planned Weekly Schedule

Week Topic Course ILO Readings/ Activities
1

Introduction to the filed of stem cell biology and its applications.

1, 2, 3, 4
2

Pluripotency - basic molecular mechanisms for stem cells

1, 2, 3, 4
3

Stem cell activity in early embryos

1, 2, 3
4

Hematopoetic stem cells - in theory and practice

1, 3, 4
5

Muscle stem cells

1, 2, 3
6

Neuronal stem cells

1, 2, 3, 4
7

Stem cell epigenetics - decoration of epigenetic marks in stem cells

1, 2, 3
8

Mammary and breast cancer stem cells

1, 3, 4
9

Ethics of stem cell research and application

2, 3
10

Directed differentiation to pancreas

1, 2, 3
11

Skin stem cells

1, 2, 3
12

Intestinal stem cells

1, 2, 3
13

Revision & wrap up

1, 2, 3, 4

Appendix 1: Assessment Rubrics

Rubric for Continuous Assessment: Assignment (10%)

You will be required to apply principles learned in class to summarise and critique a series of research journal articles. Each will be marked out of 20 and the total mark will be scaled to 10%.

Criteria Mark
Presentation
Clear descriptions of the objectives of the experiments. 5
Punctuation, grammar, and spelling are appropriate. 5
Content
The summary shows clear understanding of the principles involved. 5
The critique shows insights into the issues and problems involved 5
Overall score 20

Rubric for Mid-semester Quiz: Short Answer Questions (18%)

The short answer questions will assess your knowledge, your ability to integrate your knowledge, your critical thinking and analytical skills and your communication skills in writing. You should be able to apply the concepts and principles taught in the course to explain stem cell concepts at the system, cellular and molecular levels. Each question is marked out of 10 and the total marks are scaled to 18%.

Marks 0 to 2 3 to 4 5 to 6 7 to 8 9 to 10
Criteria

The question is not attempted or the answer is totally irrelevant

Answers are partial or show ambiguity in the understanding of concept and principle; Key points are not clear.

Answers are mostly accurate, but show some errors. Key points are included, but not well explained.

Answers are accurate and complete. Key points are stated and explained, but show minor errors

Answers are comprehensive, accurate and complete. Key ideas are clearly stated, explained, and well supported.

Appendix 2: Intended Affective Outcomes

As a result of this course, it is expected you will develop the following "big picture" attributes:

Be able to use concepts learned to consider best outcomes for society regarding stem cells

Be aware of ethical considerations regarding "stem cell tourism"

Take an ethical position on human cloning, especially "designer babies"