Module MSE-4043:
Stem Cells, Disease & Therapy

Module Facts

Run by School of Medical Sciences

10 Credits or 5 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Dr Jane Wakeman

Overall aims and purpose

This lecture series is designed to give the student an in depth understanding of stem cells, their uses in regenerative therapies and how stem cells can be the initiating cells in diseases such as cancer. The course will start with a general introduction to stem cell biology and will cover definition, characterisation and signalling pathways involved in maintenance of stem cells. The use of stem cells in regenerative therapies will then be covered, along with the generation of the alternative induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) for use in patient specific therapies and for the study of disease. Finally the course will focus on stem cells as the initiating cells of cancer and will consider the adverse effects of possible genomic instabilities, associated with long term culture of human stem cells, on regenerative therapies and disease.

Course content

The course will start with a general introduction to stem cell biology and will cover definition, characterisation and signalling pathways involved in maintenance of stem cells. Stem cells technologies and culture environment will be covered, with particular emphasis on human stem cell cultures. The use of stem cells in regenerative therapies will then be covered, along with the generation of the alternative induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) for use in patient specific therapies and for the study of disease. Particular emphasis will be placed on the derivation of neuronal cells from stem cells for use in replacement and regenerative therapies. A translational aspect of stem cells will be dealt with through consideration of taking a scientific idea from the `bench¿ through to a commercial product. Finally the course will focus on stem cells as the initiating cells of cancer and will consider the adverse effects of possible genomic instabilities, associated with long term culture of human stem cells, on regenerative therapies and disease.

Lectures, tutorials and demonstrations of practical techniques are recorded using the Panopto system

Assessment Criteria

excellent

Distinction (A- to A**) (range 70-100%)

Primary criteria

Excellent students demonstrate comprehensive knowledge & detailed understanding of the subject area. Clear evidence of extensive background study & original thinking. Highly focussed answers and well structured. Arguments are logically presented and defended with evidence and examples. No factual/computational errors. Original interpretation of the information with clear evidence of wider reading. New links between topics are developed and new approaches to a problem are presented. Excellent presentation skills with very accurate communication.

Secondary Criteria

A* Outstanding

  • Exceeds expectations for most primary criteria
  • Complete command of subject and other relevant areas
  • Ideas/arguments are highly original

A+ Excellent

  • Exceeds expectations for some primary criteria
  • Complete command of subject
  • Ideas/arguments are highly original

A Good

  • Meets all primary criteria
  • Command of subject but with minor gaps in knowledge areas
  • Ideas/arguments are mostly original

A- Meets requirements of Class

  • Meets most but not all primary criteria
  • Complete command of subject but with some gaps in knowledge
  • Ideas/arguments are mostly original

good

Merit (B- to B+) (range 60-69%)

Primary criteria

Good students demonstrate strong knowledge & understanding of most but not all of the subject area. Limited evidence of background study. The answer is focussed with good structure. Arguments are presented coherently, mostly free of factual/computational errors. Some limited original interpretation. Well know links between topics are described. Problems are addressed by existing methods/approaches. Good presentation with accurate communication

Secondary Criteria

B+ Good

  • Exceeds expectations for most primary criteria
  • Command of subject but with gaps in knowledge
  • Some ideas/arguments original

B Mid-level

  • Meets all primary criteria
  • Strong factual knowledge and understanding
  • Ideas/arguments are well presented by few are original

B- Meets requirements of class

  • Meets most but not all primary criteria
  • Strong factual knowledge with minor weaknesses in understanding
  • Most but not all ideas/arguments are well presented and few are original

threshold

A threshold student demonstrates knowledge of key areas & principles, and understands the main elements of the subject area, although gaps and weaknesses in the argument are evident. No evidence of background study and wider reading. Answer focussed on question but also with some irrelevant material and weaknesses in structure & argument. Answers have several factual/computational errors. No original interpretation. No links between topics are described. Limited problem solving skills. Some weaknesses in presentation accuracy & delivery.

Secondary Criteria

C+ Good within the class

  • Exceeds expectations for some primary criteria
  • Strong factual knowledge with some weaknesses in understanding
  • Ideas/arguments are limited but are well presented

C Mid-level

  • Matches all primary criteria
  • Moderate factual knowledge with some weaknesses in understanding
  • Ideas/arguments are limited presented with weaknesses in logic/presentation

C- Meets requirements of class

  • Matches most but not all primary criteria
  • Moderate factual knowledge with several weaknesses in understanding
  • Ideas/arguments are limited presented with weaknesses in logic/presentation

Learning outcomes

  1. Demonstrate in-depth knowledge and understanding of stem cell technologies, culture environment, and Translational Perspectives of stem cells.

  2. Demonstrate in-depth knowledge and understanding of stem cells as the initiating cells of cancer; molecular mechanisms of genetic instability in stem cells.

  3. Demonstrate in-depth knowledge and understanding of the definition and characteristics of stem cells, differences between mouse and human embryonic stem (ES) cells.

  4. Demonstrate in-depth knowledge and understanding of the molecular and cellular mechanisms involved in the formation and maintenance of stem cells.

  5. Demonstrate in-depth knowledge and understanding of the molecular pathways controlling differentiation of stem cells to specialised cell types, with particular emphasis on neuronal differentiation and the use of ES cell derived specialised cell types in regenerative therapies.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
EXAM Essay Examination

The end of module exam will take place during the end of semester 1 examinations period. Exam format consists of completing two essay answers, from a choice of three questions provided.

All questions have equal weighting. Essay should be approximately 2-3 pages of a standard answer book. Self created figures, diagrams and/or tables if included, must be accompanied with explanative text. An estimated 15 hours of notional effort is assigned to the examination preparation

100

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Hours
Private study

Self-directed study to develop in-depth knowledge and understanding.

82
Lecture

2hr lectures, 1-per week: weeks 2-5 and 8-12

18

Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others