Faculty of Science

Monash University

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2014 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

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

FacultyFaculty of Science
OfferedClayton Second semester 2014 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Professor Richard Boyd


This unit begins with an introduction to reproductive biology and fertilisation and underlying mechanisms of infertility. This will be followed by the characteristics and basic biology of embryonic stem cells. Subsequently adult stem cell biology, and inducible pluripotent stem cells will be introduced. The characteristics of stem cells in specific tissues are described, including haematopoiesis, the reproductive system, the kidney, gut and nervous system. Students also conduct a research project in reproductive biology and/or stem cells. Two moderated classroom discussions on commercialisation and ethical issues of stem cell research are also included.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Describe the basic biology of the male and female reproductive systems;

  1. Describe the process of fertilisation and abnormalities associated with infertility;

  1. Describe the basic biology of stem cells and the status of research into their identification and characterisation;

  1. Explain current and potential future applications of stem cell therapies for the regeneration of diseased organs and how stem cells can be combined with factors and materials to engineer replacement tissues;

  1. Demonstrate practical laboratory skills and interpretation of scientific data in contemporary reproductive biology and/or stem cell research;

  1. Outline the controversies surrounding the commercialisation and ethics of stem cell research;

  1. Demonstrate critical and independent thinking in the synthesis of a research report and scientific presentation.


Mini-poster presentation on the laboratory placement research project: 20%
On-line practical class assessment: 10%
Written report on one of the issues covered by the moderated discussions: 10%
Final examination: 60%

Workload requirements

Two lectures per week. 15 hours research placement in a stem cell research laboratory (over 7 weeks): Two 3-hour moderated class discussions, one 3-hour wet practical class and two 3-hour IT-based practical class exercises.

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


DEV2011 and DEV2022, or BMS1062, BMS2011, BMS2021 and BMS2031.
Recommended: MOL2011. (Note that students in course 3543 Bachelor of Biotechnology are exempt from this rule and only need to have passed DEV2022 to enrol.)