FROM OOCYTE TO EMBRYONIC STEM CELLS: THE ORIGIN OF PLURIPOTENCY
Learning outcomes of the course unit
The objective of this course is to give students notions on the origin of sexual reproduction, sex determination and on the cytological and molecular aspects of oogenesis, spermatogenesis, fertilisation, premplantation development and of the embryonic stem cells. At the end of the course, students will be able to discuss critically and with the appropriate language the specific topics of the lessons attended.
Course contents summary
The recent research in the field of reproductive biology has laid the conceptual bases for a better understanding of the processes of gametogenesis, fertilisation and preimplantation development, hus opening novel possible applications in the biomedical field. The objective of this course is to give students notions on the origin of sexual reproduction, sex determination and on the cytological and molecular aspects of oogenesis, spermatogenesis, fertilisation, preimplantation development and of the embryonic stem cells. Frontal lessons will be followed by practical insights.
- Origin of sexual reproduction and sex determination
- Cell cycle and meiosis
- Cytological and molecular aspects of spermatogenesis
- Cytological and molecular aspects of oogenesis
- Acquisition of the oocyte developmental competence
- Cytological and molecular aspects of fertilisation
- Engineering the ovarian follicle
- Cytological and molecular aspects of preimplantation development
- Micromanipulation of the preimplantation embryo
- Origin of stemness
- Sources of stem cells
- Markers of embryonic stem cells
- Pathways and stability of embryonic stem cells
- Genome stability, plasticity and reprogramming
- Differentiation and clinical use of embryonic stem cells
The students will be given articles that expand the specific theme described during the lessons together with the slides used by the teacher.
Before each new lesson, the teacher will first summarise then check whether the previous topics have been well understood through an interactive discussion with the students.
Assessment methods and criteria
Besides the short exams described above and performed throughout the course, there will be a final oral exam during which the student wil be asked three questions on topics discussed during the course. One question will focus on the application of the techniques described during the practical lessons. Not only will be the understanding of a specific topic valued, but also the capacity of the student to trace, using an appropriate language, those links necessary to the understanding of the biological phenomenon described.