Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Monash University

Postgraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2012 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 0 (NATIONAL PRIORITY), 0.125 EFTSL

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

FacultyFaculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
OfferedClayton First semester (extended) 2012 (Day)
Clayton First semester (extended) 2012 (Off-campus)


This unit will provide students with an overview of the basic embryological knowledge that is essential for working in animal and human IVF laboratories. Theoretical information about hormonal control of reproduction, folliculogenesis, gametogenesis, fertilisation, implantation, early embryo development to gastrulation, germ and somatic cell lineages and also epigenetics from a cellular, genetic and molecular perspective will be presented and discussed in lectures, and tutorials. Also an overview on potential stem cell therapies discussing the production and use of human embryonic stem cells, comparing with stem cells from adult and foetal origin will be given.


On completion of this unit students will:

  1. Understand and describe in detail the processes of spermatogenesis, hormonal control of reproduction and fertilisation;
  2. Understand and describe the cellular,genetic and molecular aspects of embryonic development and differentiation to a level required by a human IVF program or a research laboratory;
  3. Define epigenetics and, using cell differentiation as an example, explain its importance in causing phenotypic and gene expression changes without change in nuclear DNA sequence;
  4. Describe in detail the events involved in the transformation of an embryo from the 2-cell stage to hatching of the late blastocyst:
  5. Explain how the trophoblast forms and the process of implantation:
  6. Understand and clearly explain the process of embryonic development from the inner cell mass to gastrulation and formation of the trilaminar embryo:
  7. Understand and discuss stem cell therapies, and be aware of the differences between adult, foetal and embryonic stem cells;
  8. Demonstrate an ability to critically and constructively analyse research data in various aspects of embryology;
  9. Communicate their knowledge clearly and effectively.


Unit exam (60%)
Journal review comparison (30%)
Peerwise assignment (10%)

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Sally Catt

Contact hours

16h contact per week (lectures, tutorials,forums, self-directed study).