MEDSCI 704 : Stem Cells and Development

Medical and Health Sciences

2020 Semester One (1203) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Stem cell biology and the genetic regulation of developmental processes will be examined in normal and disease settings. Blood, immunity, vascular networks and the kidney will be used as systems to explore important concepts in organ development and regeneration. This knowledge will be applied in understanding disease processes such as leukaemia, inflammation and kidney disorders, and in designing new therapeutic strategies.

Course Overview

MEDSCI 704 is a Masters/Honours level course in developmental genetics.


1. Model Systems: Applying model organism genetics in biomedical research

Dr Jonathan Astin

2. Vascular Development

Dr Jonathan Astin

3. Kidney development and regeneration

A/Prof Alan Davidson

4. Immunity: How model organisms provide insights into the development of the immune system

Dr Chris Hall

5. Ageing

Dr Robyn Lints

6. Blood stem cells and myeloid malignancies

Dr Andy Wood

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities
Graduate Profile: University

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Describe the development of the vasculature, kidney, blood and immune cell lineages and the processes that underpin leukemia and ageing. (Capability 1)
  2. Design an experiment within the fields of developmental biology and model organism genetics. (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  3. Identify, describe and analyse findings from a scientific study. (Capability 2, 4, 5 and 6)
  4. Demonstrate the ability to research and review a topic within developmental biology/model organism genetics. (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 5)
  5. Have a basic understanding of the methodologies used in developmental biology/model organism genetics. (Capability 1)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Final Exam 60% Individual Examination
Essay 20% Individual Coursework
Presentation 16% Individual Coursework
Discussions 4% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5
Final Exam

Course Contacts

Dr. Jonathan Astin
Department of Molecular Medicine and Pathology
School of Medical Sciences
Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 2 hours of lectures, or tutorials, 4 hours of reading and thinking about the content and 4 hours of work on assignments and/or test preparation.

Digital Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website at

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page:

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Student Feedback

At the end of every semester students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback and respond with summaries and actions.

Your feedback helps teachers to improve the course and its delivery for future students.

Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the department and faculty staff-student consultative committees.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter (


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course you may be asked to submit your coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. The final decision on the completion mode for a test or examination, and remote invigilation arrangements where applicable, will be advised to students at least 10 days prior to the scheduled date of the assessment, or in the case of an examination when the examination timetable is published.

Published on 18/02/2020 02:10 p.m.