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2019/20 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

MEDM5211M Stem Cell Biology: A Genomics and Systems Biology Approach to Haematopoiesis

15 creditsClass Size: 35

Module manager: Dr Gina Doody

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

Pre-requisite qualifications

As per programme entry qualifications

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

This module will detail the fundamental principles of stem cell biology using the haematopoietic system as a leading model for exploring the molecular mechanism(s) by which stem cells can generate various cell types of the blood and immune system.The successful generation of blood cells consists of various cell fate decisions that are dependent upon a gene regulatory network (GRN) comprised of the coordinated expression and interplay between transcription factors, miRNAs and epigenetic DNA modification. These 'components' of the GRN are the sentinels of differentiation providing not only instructive information but function as safeguards to ensure that discrete stages of the multi-step developmental process are successfully completed. Dysregulation in one or more of these regulatory factors upsets the balance of cell death, proliferation and differentiation resulting in the shift towards cancer.By exploiting GRNs recent advances have programmed terminally differentiated cells into pluripotent stem cells (iPS) and have provided a significant break-through in the potential therapeutic use of these reprogrammed cells in regenerative medicine.The latest experimental approaches (microarray, Chip-Seq, shRNA) and emerging areas (cancer stem cells, iPS and regenerative medicine) in stem cell research will be discussed.


This module will provide students with current knowledge of stem cell biology with primary emphasis on understanding how gene regulatory networks regulate cell fate decisions within the haematopoietic system.
The latest experimental approaches (Next Generation Sequencing, Chip-Seq, shRNA) and emerging areas (cancer stem cells, induced pluripotent stem cells and regenerative medicine) in stem cell research will be discussed.

Learning outcomes
By the end of this module students will be able to:
- Demonstrate deep knowledge and advanced understanding of haematopoiesis;
- Summarise the current understanding of stem cell biology;
- Critique the latest experimental approaches in stem cell research with examples of their use;
- Provide evidence of an understanding of the novelty and potential of stem cells in biotechnology and human diseases;
- Evaluate new and relevant advances in haematopoiesis, gene regulatory networks and stem cell biology.


- Gene Regulatory Networks of the Haematopoietic System
- Genomic Approaches to Study Stem Cell Biology
- Transcription factors and miRNAs in normal and malignant haematopoiesis
- Epigenetic mechanisms of regulating haematopoiesis
- Regulating the regulators- cytokine signalling and the stem cell niche
- Leukemic Cancer Stem Cells
- Plasticity, Transdifferentiation and Reprogramming
- Therapeutic use of Stem Cells: Aging and Regeneration

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Group learning71.5010.50
Private study hours115.00
Total Contact hours35.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Private study

115 hr of Private Study:
24 hrs: 3 hr background reading per seminar
Students given reading list at end of seminar for the following week. 3 hrs by 8 seminars
32 hrs: Word Report, reading and writing
Each topic is centred on 3-4 papers
Will require background reading and writing
21 hrs: Journal Club reading and slide generation. 20min talk, 10-15 slides.
19 hrs: reading of other JC papers
Assuming we have 20 students total, each student is expected to read one another's JC paper.
To ensure that each student has read the Journal Club paper, they are expected to have a question prepared. Students will be randomly called upon during question time to ask their question.
15 hrs: generation of Poster
4 hrs: Answering 'data-interpretation' questions based on the material of individual seminars
8 seminars (30 min per seminar)
At the end of each lecture, 2-3 questions will be provided (via online or email).
These questions will be based on the seminar itself and answers are expected within 1 week.
The questions will consist interpreting 'simple' scientific data. As example: if a cell expresses the transcription factors A and B what is the developmental phenotype of this progenitor?

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Students will be monitored by their contribution to tutorials and formative short-answers questions ('data-interpretation' questions (2-3) based on the material of each seminar).

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay2000 words40.00
Oral PresentationJournal Club30.00
Poster PresentationPoster30.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

The resit for the Journal Club presentation will be a critique of a published paper presented as a PowerPoint presentation with accompanying podcast (podcast hardware & software provided). Compensation applies.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 30/04/2019


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