Faculty of Science

Monash University

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2015 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.

print version

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.

FacultyFaculty of Science
OfferedClayton Second semester 2015 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Professor Richard Boyd


This unit begins with an introduction to embryonic stem cell biology and pluripotency. This will be followed by the characteristics and basic biology of newborn and adult stem cells. Subsequently inducible pluripotent stem cells will be introduced. The characteristics, anatomical location and clinical relevance of stem cells in specific tissues are then described, including haematopoiesis, kidney, gut, prostate, limb regeneration and immune, nervous and reproductive systems / mechanisms of fertility and infertility. Students also conduct a research project in stem cells and developmental biology. Two moderated classroom discussions on commercialisation and regulatory and ethical issues of stem cell research and clinical treatments are also included.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Describe the basic biology of embryonic and induced pluripotential stem cells;

  1. Describe the basic biology of newborn, adult and tissue-specific stem cells and the status of research into their characterisation and their role in health and disease;

  1. Describe the technologies for studying stem cells and their function;

  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 and nanotechnology 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 and advances and requirements for clinical treatments;

  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%
A pass in the final written theory examination of the unit must be obtained to pass the unit.

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.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

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.)