Catalogue of Modules, University of Nottingham

A34ASC Adult and Foetal Stem Cells
(Last Updated:03 May 2017)

Year  17/18

Total Credits: 30

Level: Level 4

Target Students:  Only available to M.Sc. Stem Cell Technology students There is a limited number of places on this module. Students are reminded that enrolments which are not agreed by the Offering School in advance may be cancelled without notice.  Available to JYA/Erasmus students.

Taught Semesters:

Spring Assessed by end of Spring Semester 

Prerequisites: None.

Corequisites:  None.

Summary of Content:  This module provides coverage of a broad range of adult and fetal stem cell types, including haematopoeitic, mesenchymal, neural and cord blood cells, with emphasis on both basic biology and clinical applications. Laboratory training in culture and differentiation of adult stem cells is provided. Tutorial sessions cover ethical issues, the clinical facilites required for human stem cell transplantation and criticial analysis of high profile stem cell papers. Contact time: 112.5 hours (29h lectures, 11.5 hours tutorials, 72 hours laboratory) Private study time: 137.5 hours

Method and Frequency of Class:

ActivityNumber Of WeeksNumber of sessionsDuration of a session
Lecture 10 weeks4 per week1 hour
Tutorial 10 weeks1 per week1 hour 30 mins
Practical 10 weeks2 per week5 hours

Activities may take place every teaching week of the Semester or only in specified weeks. It is usually specified above if an activity only takes place in some weeks of a Semester

Method of Assessment: 

Assessment TypeWeightRequirements
Exam 1 10 Rogo MCQ - 50 questions in 60 minutes 
Coursework 1 20 Lab performance - tutor assessment of lab skills 
Report 30 Lab report - in-class assessment 
Exam 2 20 Short answer question exam - 5 questions based on scenarios/ diagrams/ brief questions in 60 minutes 
Exam 3 20 1 hour Essay exam - Essay from choice of two 

Dr V Sottile

Education Aims:  The purpose of this module is to provide students with a detailed understanding of the biology, culture, differentiation, ethics, clinical application and commercialization of the most widely studied adult and foetal stem cells. The practical sessions within the course will provide laboratory experience of the range of the range of techniques in current use for isolation, culture and in vitro differentiation of mesenchymal and neural stem cells. The tutorial sessions are designed to explore the legislation and current issues surrounding the research, clinical application and current obstacles to commercialization of these cells, in addition to covering critical evaluation of experimental design.

Learning Outcomes:  
This module will contribute to the following MSc in Stem Cell Technology course learning outcomes:
Knowledge and understanding
A student who completes this course successfully will know and understand:

  • Aspects of basic cell, molecular and developmental biology relevant to stem cell science
  • Origins and diversity of foetal and adult stem cell types.
  • The current role of stem cells in clinical applications, tissue engineering, commerce and basic research
  • Principles of adult stem cell derivation, culture, differentiation, transfection, tissue engineering and exploitation
  • The current international legislative, social, ethical, legal and commercial frameworks relevant to stem cell technologies
  • Principles of experimental design, research methods and critical data analysis; Good Laboratory Practice
    The curriculum will provide purpose-designed lectures to ensure appropriate coverage of the topic, with many features reinforced and further explored in the practical classes. The assessed practical reports and essay will encourage the students to undertake private research into the relevant topics, providing further knowledge
    Intellectual skills
    A student who completes this course successfully will be able to:
  • Demonstrate knowledge and critical understanding of essential facts, concepts, principles and theories relating to each course module.
  • Apply the cognitive skills of critical thinking and analysis of scientific information to formulate experimentally testable hypotheses.
  • Collate and critically analyse scientific data / arguments to enable clear and correct oral or written presentation to both lay and specialist audiences.
  • Debate the socio-ethical issues surrounding stem cell technologies
    The essay, practical reports and debate will enable the students to express research findings in three different formats.
    Practical Skills
    A student who completes this course successfully will be able to:
  • Undertake risk assessments concerning molecular and cell biology procedures
  • Apply numeracy and calculative skills to enable experimental design and data analysis / interpretation.
  • Aseptically culture and differentiate adult stem cells in the absence of antibiotics
  • Perform molecular and cell-based assays to determine cell identity and function
    The practical component of the curriculum is designed to provide the basis of several assay techniques required in stem cell research. The theory of these assays will be described in both the practical classes and in relevant lectures. Understanding of this theory is likely to be tested by the multiple choice and short answer exam questions, as well as in the assessed practical reports.
    Transferable (key) skills
    A student who completes this course successfully will be able to:
  • Communicate effectively both with scientific professionals and the public using a variety of formats, including technical writing, oral and poster presentations, and discussions.
  • Effectively time-manage, as evidenced by the ability to plan, self motivate and implement efficient modes of working.
  • Exploit a range of information sources to enable effective problem solving, research implementation and coherent debating.
  • Show an ethical attitude to research
  • Demonstrate information technology skills, including word processing, bibliography management and internet communication.
  • Display evidence-based critical learning
    Research for the essay and practical reports will encourage the use of a wide range of available resources and the feedback on these assessments will ensure continued development. Students will undertake an online ENDNOTE tutorial as part of module 5 and will be expected to practice use of this in all assignments within the current module. Students will be encouraged to practice the presentation skills learned in Module 5 within the essay and practical reports within the current module. Discussion sessions in tutorials will encourage critical thinking. Written feedback given in the essay/ lab reports and oral feedback given in the tutorial sessions will assist in understanding of skill development.

    Offering School:  Medicine

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