BI2BC4-Human Development, Organogenesis & Anatomy

Module Provider: School of Biological Sciences
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Pre-requisites: BI1BEC1 Building Blocks of Life
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Lizzy Lander


Type of module:

Summary module description:

An introduction to human development with a focus on how key mechanisms will change a single cell to a functional foetus. The content will focus on the transformation of an embryo to a three-layered disc, which will form a platform for further development, and how this platform is used to create limb, musculature and organ systems. The module will also give students an opportunity to understand how developmental biology impacts medical research and the treatment of disease.

This course aims to provide the student with an introduction to mechanisms that underpin development and to examine specific developmental processes that change a single cell into a foetus with functional organ systems.

Assessable learning outcomes:

At the end of this course students should be able to: (i) Discuss the developmental timeline of an embryo from fertilisation to foetus. (ii) Describe the role played by gastrulation in establishing the germ layers and recognise the derivatives of the ectoderm, mesoderm and endoderm. (iii) Discuss the development of selected organ systems (including the nervous, respiratory and muscular system). (iv) Recognise the roles played by cell division/growth, cell differentiation, apoptosis and morphogenesis during human development.

Additional outcomes:

The key mechanisms of cell division/growth, differentiation, apoptosis and morphogenesis are critical to the study of biological systems. Through emphasis on these key topics students will gain a greater understanding of how these topics affect not only development but also all biological systems.

Outline content:

Initially the lecture course will focus on the key developmental mechanisms and the importance of studying developmental biology. The lecture content will then focus how two gametes generate the necessary platform for organ system development. Later content will elaborate on this developmental platform to discuss how limbs and musculature are developed, as well as discussions of selected organ system generation. Two practicals will be undertaken to give students hands on experience with developmental biology. One practical will study the growth of an embryo, and the other will examine the role of cell death/senescence in development. Please note, these practicals involve the observation of live chicken embryos.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

The course will consist of 12 x 50 minute lectures and two practicals. Students will also be supported by online resources. Comprehensive reading lists will be provided allowing students to study on their own. 

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 12
Practicals classes and workshops 6
Guided independent study 82
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:

A one-and-half hour examination.  This exam will be a seen examination paper.

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Assessment requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Re-examination in August/September

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

    1) Course text books: Embryology at a Glance (~£25), also available as an E-book through the library for free. 2) Specialist equipment or materials: N/A 3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear: In compliance with the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) 1992 Act, while studying this module students will be expected to wear a lab coat. The Department/School can provide students with this/these at a cost of £1 (hire per session) and £12 (to purchase). Students who choose not to purchase from the University must ensure that that their PPE meets the latest British/European Safety Standards. 4) Printing and binding: N/A 5) Computers and devices with a particular specification: N/A 6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence: N/A

    Last updated: 15 August 2018


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