MCB 231 Spring 2010

Lectures: Tuesdays and Thursdays 11:00-12:30 2062 VLSB
Discussions: Fridays 12:00-1:00 TBD

INSTRUCTORS (See *** for administrative matters related to this course):
Richard Harland
Lin He
David Weisblat

There is no required text. For review or background:
Slack "Essential Developmental Biology", 2nd edition, Blackwell
Gilbert "Developmental Biology" 6th, 7th, or 8th edition, Sinauer (the 6th edition is available online).
Gilbert & Raunio "Embryology: Constructing the Organism" Sinauer
Moody "Cell Lineage and Fate Determination" Academic Press
Wolpert "Principles of Development" Current Biology/Oxford


Each discussion section will consist of student presentations of 1-2 assigned research articles relevant to the concurrent lectures. At our first meeting, we will choose presentation dates and briefly discuss how to give an effective presentation. The discussion papers will be assigned as the course progresses and will typically be assigned at least one week prior to discussion.

Discussion Guidelines

You should present a critical evaluation of the paper, as in a 290 seminar (which most of you haven't taken yet!). Although the entire class must read the paper prior to discussion, you should treat your presentation as though we have not. As you prepare your presentation, it will probably become clear that you need to read additional papers (for background knowledge or to clarify previous work that the paper is based on) – you are expected to do this additional reading.

Your presentation should be organized as follows:

  1. Background: put the paper in context.
  2. Statement of the main points and claims of the paper.
  3. Detailed consideration of the methods and data: usually this takes the form of going through the figures, discussing each not in general terms but pointing out salient features ("if you compare lane A and G of the figure you see that....")
  4. Discussion of whether the work is convincing, how well presented it was, how clear, whether the conclusions are justified, what more you would have liked to see, how this fits with present day notions. Was the work important or overblown?

The whole presentation, including discussion, should take about 30-45 minutes so that the whole section should take an hour, depending upon the number of papers presented. Members of the class are expected to participate in a **lively** discussion. Powerpoint presentations are standard to present the data, but you are strongly encouraged to make use of the blackboard during the discussion.


Grades will be assigned on the basis of: your oral presentation(s) and participation in Discussions your written assignment by Prof. Harland, He and Weisblat. The ground rules to be discussed at the start of the course.

PLAGIARISM (COPYING TEXT OR FIGURES from any source, whether printed or online, without attribution) will result in automatic failure, with referral for further disciplinary action at the University level.


MCB231 Spring 2010 Schedule

Lecture: Tu Th 11-12:30 2062 VLSB;
Discussion: F, 12-1 2032 VLSB


Tu Jan 19 GG GG Mechanisms of asymmetric cell division
Th Jan 21 GG Mechanisms of asymmetric cell division
F Jan 22   Discussion section organizational meeting
Tu Jan 26 GG Regulation of cell migration and axon guidance
Th Jan 28 GG Regulation of cell migration and axon guidance
F Jan 29   Discussion
Tu Feb 2 RH Amphibian development: cell movements, determinants and inductions
Th Feb 4 RH Symmetry breaking and mesoderm induction
F Feb 5   Discussion
Tu Feb 9 RH The organizer and neural induction
Th Feb 11 RH Morphogenesis, Planar cell polarity, cell rearrangements and shape changes
F Feb 12   Discussion
Tu Feb 16 LH pre-implantation development in mouse
Th Feb 18 LH ES cell biology
F Feb 19   Discussion
Tu Feb 23 LH iPS cell biology
Th Feb 25 LH Genetic tools to study mouse development and disease
F Feb 26   Discussion
Tu Mar 2 RH Amniote gastrulation movements
Th Mar 4 RH Axial patterning and nodal signaling
F Mar 5   Discussion
Tu Mar 9 RH spinal cord patterning
Th Mar 11 RH formation and differentiation of somites
F Mar 12   Discussion
Tu Mar 16 LH Limb development
Th Mar 18 LH Limb development
W Mar 19   Discussion
(Spring break Mar 22-26)
Tu Mar 30 LH small ncRNA functions in development
Th Apr 1 LH small ncRNA functions in development
F Apr 2   Discussion
Tu Apr 6 NP The Evolution of Body Patterning
Th Apr 8 IH The Evolution of Body Patterning
F Apr 9   Discussion
Tu Apr 13 JG Sea urchin (Echinoderm) Development
Th Apr 15 FW Hemichordates and the origin of chordates
F Apr 16   Discussion
Tu Apr 20 DW Spiralian development: D quadrant specification
Th Apr 22 DW Spiralian development: segmentation
F Apr 23   Discussion
Tu Apr 27 DW Spiralian development: segmentation
Th Apr 29 DW Spiralian development: dorsoventral patterning
F Apr 30   Discussion
Tu May 4 DW Spiralian development: stem cells and regeneration
Th May 6 DW Spiralian development: stem cells and regeneration
F May 7   Discussion