BIOTECH 7002 - Stem Cells and Advanced Tissue Culture

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2016

Recent advances in stem cell technology and advanced tissue culture have provided enormous potential for novel treatments of previously thought incurable diseases such as Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease and early dementia, type I diabetes and others where tissue degeneration is a root cause. This course will expose students to current research detailing the molecular properties of stemness and the mechanisms by which distinct cell lineages are derived from stem cells. Strategies from the recent literature used to produce specific cell lineages and tissues will be identified. The course will enable students to develop skills for critical analysis by in depth evaluation of research papers and exposure to the experimental strategies used in research programs of University of Adelaide and affiliate staff stem cell scientists.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code BIOTECH 7002
    Course Stem Cells and Advanced Tissue Culture
    Coordinating Unit School of Biological Sciences
    Term Semester 2
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 9 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N
    Assumed Knowledge BIOCHEM 2500, GENETICS 2510, GENETICS 2520 or equivalent
    Restrictions Available to GCBIBIOM, GDBIBIOM, MBIBIOM students only
    Course Description Recent advances in stem cell technology and advanced tissue culture have provided enormous potential for novel treatments of previously thought incurable diseases such as Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease and early dementia, type I diabetes and others where tissue degeneration is a root cause. This course will expose students to current research detailing the molecular properties of stemness and the mechanisms by which distinct cell lineages are derived from stem cells. Strategies from the recent literature used to produce specific cell lineages and tissues will be identified. The course will enable students to develop skills for critical analysis by in depth evaluation of research papers and exposure to the experimental strategies used in research programs of University of Adelaide and affiliate staff stem cell scientists.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Professor Murray Whitelaw

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes

    On completion of the course students should be able to:

    1 Be aware of the increasing potential of stem cell science to contribute to medicine.
    2 Have an understanding of the molecular determinants that define stem cells.
    3 Have an understanding of how in vitro manipulation can be used to create distinct cell lineages.
    4 Have an understanding of the methodologies used for reverse engineering of mature cells to create induced pluripotent stem cells, and their use in the investigation of mechanisms of disease and development of personalised medicine.
    5 Develop an understanding of basic research methodologies used in current stem cell research.
    6 Be aware of ethical issues associated with stem cell research.
    7 Critically analyse and interpret data, arguments and conclusions presented in the scientific literature.
    8 Develop the ability to engage with senior scientists in discussions on research priorities and strategies in the field of stem cell science.
    9 Develop the ability to evaluate and write critical summaries of research papers and/or research proposals.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    2,3,4,5,6,7,8
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    2,3,4,5,7,8,9
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    4,5,7,8,9
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • Able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    1,6,7
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
    1,6,7,8,9
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources

    No specific text book. Protocols for practicals will be provided.

    Suggested reading lists and websites will be provided as a basis for workshop discussions and written reports.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    6 x 3 hour research workshops
    10 x 6 hour practicals
    Workload

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    A student enrolled in a 3 unit course, such as this, should expect to spend, on average 12 hours per week on the studies required. This includes both the formal contact time required to the course (e.g.lectures and practicals), as well as non-contact time (e.g., reading and revision).

    Learning Activities Summary
    Workshops:

    One research workshop of 3 hours every second week.

    Student preparation: reading of reviews and research papers and addressing the accompanying questions relating to the papers.

    An overview of a specific topic relating to the general research theme will be outlined by the workshop convenor.  The questions will be provided by the convenor and will address areas such as future developments and promise in the field, shortfalls in the current technology and applications to biomedical science.  Written summaries and answering of specific questions should be no more than 1,500 words.

    4 hours every week for independent student research on the general research theme.

    School academic staff and University of Adelaide stem cell researchers, from the Robinson Institute and the University of Adelaide Centre for Stem Cell Research, will deliver the research workshops.

    Themes for research workshops:

    Note: These do not represent stand alone sessions, but rather these themes will be covered
    throughout the series of research workshops that make up the course.

     1. Molecular definition of embryonic stem cells. Genetic and epigenetic properties, how these are determined, molecular basis of pluripotence, strategies and methods to prove pluripotence.

     2. Generation of induced Pluripotent Stem (iPS) cells. Methods by which mature cells can be de-differentiated into iPS cells, molecular characteristics of iPS cells, how iPS cells and ES cells can be compared, utility of iPS cells.

     3. Differentiation of ES and iPS cells into distinct cell lineages.  Molecular strategies to manipulate stem cells to derive specific cell types, how to verify identity of specific cell types, utility of differentiated cell types for research and possible clinical applications.

    4. Stem cell therapies for neurological or central nervous system diseases, and use of mesenchymal stem cells for regenerative medicine to treat damaged connective tissue or bone.  How close are
    we to the clinic? What must be achieved before clinical applications are approved?

     5. Ethics of stem cell research. What are the controversies?  Who argues for and against human stem cell research? How are technical advances changing the ethical debate?

     6. Growing tissues or organs in vitro.  How is this done? What are the successes? What are the aspirations of this research?

     7. Cancer stem cells. What is the evidence? Which cancers are established to harbour cancer stem cells? What can be done to target cancer stem cells? Should cancer be considered a “stem cell disease”?

     8. Stem cell use for agricultural purposes. Cloning to produce superior livestock, eg cattle, pigs and sheep.

    9. Stem cell research programs at the University of Adelaide. Aims, project designs, methodologies, successes and failures, future directions.

    Practicals:

    Ten practical sessions of 6 hours.

    Students will be given practical topics and relevant material one week prior to each session.

    Ten practical sessions are included to help students develop skills in culturing and understanding the characteristics of different types of stem cells. Sessions will include the basics of preparing feeder cells, production of essential growth factors for stem cell culture e.g. LIF (Leukaemia Inhibitory factor), culturing, splitting, freezing, storage, re-initiating stem cell cultures, methods of differentiating stem cells to distinct cell lineages, gene targeting of embryonic stem cells with selection and analysis of targeted clones, derivation of iPS (induced pluripotent stem cells) cells and resources permitting, derivation of embryonic stem cells de novo. Selected topics in advanced tissue culture will also include production and purification of monoclonal antibodies and in vitro culture of explanted organs.

    A laboratory journal detailing aims, results, analysis of data and conclusions of practical exercises conducted will be continually assessed on a weekly basis throughout the duration of the course.

    One practical report to be written up at the end of the practical sessions.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Task Type Hurdle Weighting
    Workshops:

    Written summaries of research topics (1,500 words)

    Summative &
    Formative

    Marked
    and discussed at workshops.

     Students are encouraged to develop their own
    ideas and present them to the class

    Feedback
    given after each assignment

    No

    8%
    for each summary/assignment

     (= 48% total)



    Practical:

     

    Practical
    Report











    Lab journal
    Summative
    & Formative

    Reports
    are marked on content of report, understanding of subject matter and basic
    skills exhibited during the practical sessions.









    Lab
    journal

    Continual
    assessment


    25%



















    27%




    No
    Assessment Detail

    Description of Assessment:

    Workshop participation, written summaries:

    Students will be assessed on written summaries/answers to specific questions for each topic

    (8% x 6 = 48%).

     

    Practical Report:

    One written practical report resulting from a selected aspect/theme from the 10 practical sessions (25%).

    Lab journal (27%). The time spent in writing and maintenance of the lab journal is included as part of the practical time of 6 hours per session.

    Submission

    Late Submission
    If an extension is not applied for, or not granted then a penalty for late submission will apply. A penalty of 10% of the value of the assignment for each calendar day that the assignment is late (i.e. weekends count as 2 days), up to a maximum of 50% of the available marks will be applied. This means that an assignment that is 5 days late or more without an approved extension can only receive a maximum of 50% of the marks available for that assignment.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

    This course will be evaluated by the following means:

    • Course SELT
    Peer evaluations of Learning and Teaching will be used to assess the contribution of teaching staff. The course will be reviewed by members of the Biotechnology industry via a Program Advisory Committee
  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.