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Monash University

Monash University Handbook 2010 Undergraduate - Area of Study

All areas of study information should be read in conjunction with the relevant course entry in the Handbook. The units listed for this area of study relate only to the 'Requirements' outlined in the Faculty of Science component of any bachelors double degrees.

Managing facultyFaculty of Science
Course coordinatorProfessor John Bertram (Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology)


  • Offered by the Department of Anatomy and Development Biology


Developmental biology is one of the most exciting and fast-moving fields in modern biomedical science. It covers such topics as classical embryology, body structure and design, molecular mechanisms of development, organogenesis, causes of birth defects, stem cell biology, regenerative biology and medicine and tissue engineering.


On completion of the major sequence in developmental biology students will:

  • appreciate the structural diversity of eukaryotic cells
  • understand the arrangements of cells and extracellular matrix in primary tissues
  • be able to recognise specialised cell types, primary tissues and stages of early human development both in vivo and in vitro
  • understand basic micro and macro imaging techniques including aspects of image capture, storage and reproduction
  • understand the general anatomy of the human body
  • understand the microscopic and macroscopic structure of organs and organ systems
  • understand how the general body plan is established in the embryo
  • understand the molecular systems that regulate the development of the body
  • have a good understanding of the development of the major organs and organ systems, and understand the key molecular events regulating this development
  • understand the common birth defects and the mechanisms underlying these developmental abnormalities
  • understand the different types of embryonic and adult stem cells, their characteristics and biological potentials
  • understand the concept of developmental programming and how this can result in adult disease
  • understand how factors, cells and materials can be combined to provide regeneration of diseased tissues and organs
  • appreciate a number of the current scientific, ethical and commercial controversies in developmental biology, understand both sides of the arguments, and appreciate both points of view
  • understand how new knowledge in developmental biology is obtained
  • be able to retrieve, discuss (written and verbal) and understand the latest research findings in the areas above from the electronic and hardcopy literature.


Level two

  • DEV2011 Early human development from cells to tissues
  • DEV2022 Principles of organ and body design

Level three

  • DEV3011 Fundamentals of developmental processes
  • DEV3022 Developmental pathways to health and disease
  • DEV3032 Stem cells and regeneration
  • DEV3990 Action in developmental biology research project

Sequence requirements

Minor sequence in developmental biology (24 points)

Major sequence in developmental biology

Additional requirements: MOL2011 is a recommended unit for all level-three DEV units.