MEDSCI 704 : Stem Cells and Development

Medical and Health Sciences

2024 Semester One (1243) (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

Prof Alan Davidson

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

A/Prof Chris Hall

5. Blood stem cells and myeloid malignancies

Dr Andy Wood

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Course Contacts

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

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 3: Knowledge and Practice
Capability 4: Critical Thinking
Capability 5: Solution Seeking
Capability 6: Communication
Capability 8: Ethics and Professionalism
Graduate Profile: Master of Science

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 leukeamia. (Capability 3)
  2. Design an experiment within the fields of developmental biology and model organism genetics. (Capability 3, 4 and 5)
  3. Identify, describe and analyse findings from scientific studies (Capability 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8)
  4. Demonstrate the ability to research and review a topic within developmental biology/model organism genetics (Capability 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8)
  5. Classify, summarise, explain, and critique the methodologies used in developmental biology/model organism genetics. (Capability 3, 4, 5 and 6)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Final Exam 55% Individual Examination
Essay 25% Individual Coursework
Presentation 16% Individual Coursework
Discussions 4% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5
Final Exam

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.

Each teaching week you can expect 2 hours of lectures/tutorials. 

In total, you can expect 24 hours of lectures/tutorials and 126 hours of time spent on coursework, study and test preparation.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

The course has weekly lecture or tutorial sessions. Attendance is expected to complete components of the course.

Lectures will be available as recordings.

Tutorials will include in person group discussions. Group discussions in tutorial sessions will not be recorded. In person attendance is required.

Attendance on campus is not required for the exam.

The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.

Learning 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.

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.

The course now contains an introductory lecture to introduce concepts and assignments.
The presentation rubric includes more information on what to cover.

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 for potential plagiarism or other forms of academic misconduct, using computerised detection mechanisms.

Use of AI tools
Students should only use generative AI technologies to improve readability and language. Applying the technology should be done with human oversight and control, and students should carefully review and edit the result, as AI can generate authoritative-sounding output that can be incorrect, incomplete or biased. 

Copying AI-generated content or using AI tools to generate the content of assignments will constitute plagiarism. 

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.

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

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.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

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 students may be asked to submit 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. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 06/11/2023 10:05 a.m.