Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Postgraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2013 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 2, 0.125 EFTSL

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FacultyFaculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
Organisational UnitDepartment of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
OfferedClayton First semester (extended) 2013 (Day)
Clayton First semester (extended) 2013 (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 be able to:

  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. Discuss other embryonic manipulations and explain the potential effects of epigenetics on the development of an embryo and subsequent offspring
  8. Understand and discuss stem cell therapies, and be aware of the differences between adult,.foetal and embryonic stem cells;
  9. Demonstrate an ability to critically and constructively analyse research data in various aspects of embryology;
  10. Communicate their knowledge clearly and effectively.


Written journal review comparison 35%
Written exam 65%

Chief examiner(s)

Contact hours

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