Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

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Monash University

Monash University Handbook 2011 Postgraduate - Unit

12 points, SCA Band 3, 0.250 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
OfferedClayton Second semester (extended) 2011 (Day)
Clayton Second semester (extended) 2011 (Off-campus)
Coordinator(s)Dr Sally Catt and Dr Peter Temple-Smith


This unit will provide students with an understanding of cellular and molecular aspects of fertilisation, epigenetics, genomic imprinting and X-chromosome inactivation. It also provides information and training in the preparation of sperm for intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), the identification of spermatids, spermatocytes and other cell types recovered from testicular biopsies, and the assessment of fertilization. This unit will also focus on the production and use of human embryonic stem cells and examine the potential use of other embryonic manipulations, such as assisted hatching, mitochondrial transfer and therapeutic cloning. Students will have the opportunity to visit stem cell laboratories, and will also be given practical training in ICSI using mouse and sheep gametes using a variety of micromanipulation tools (hand-made and commercial) and instruments (manual and automated). Students are expected to spend as much time as possible in the laboratory outside formal teaching hours.
On completion of this unit students will have a sound theoretical understanding of, and training in, ICSI and other micro manipulative techniques associated with IVF treatment and also be familiar with the effects of such treatments at the molecular level.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Identify applications of, and be skilled in the preparation of, micromanipulation instruments
  2. Perform ICSI
  3. Identify methods used for the preparation of sperm from ejaculates and testicular biopsies
  4. Understand the applications of embryonic stem cell lines in research
  5. Discuss other embryonic manipulations and explain the potential effects of epigenetics on the development of an embryo and subsequent offspring
  6. Understand and discuss stem cell therapies, and be aware of the differences between adult and embryonic stem cells and their therapeutic potential
  7. Communicate their knowledge clearly and effectively


Written examination (27%)
Presentation of journal review (20%)
Essay (3000 words) (20%)
Practical assessment: hands on skills (on campus only) and quizzes (33%)

Chief examiner(s)

Associate Professor Peter Temple-Smith

Contact hours

24h contact per week (lectures, tutorials, forums, self-directed study, practical skills
training (on-campus)