84281 - Stem Cell Biology

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Anna Rita Franco Migliaccio

  • Credits 1

  • SSD BIO/17

  • Language English

  • Campus of Bologna

  • Degree Programme Single cycle degree programme (LMCU) in Medicine and Surgery (cod. 9210)

  • Teaching resources on Virtuale

Academic Year 2019/2020

Learning outcomes

Describe basic concepts in stem cell biology, including origin and plasticity. Differentiate between embryonic and adult stem cells, and describe their characteristics. Define the molecular mechanisms of stem cell differentiation. Discuss potential applications of stem cells in regenerative medicine.

Course contents


Morphological and functional definition of a stem cell.

Tissue specific stem cells: The hematopoietic stem cell. 

The cellular hierarchy of the hematopoietic system.     

The differentiation of the hematioietic stem cell: Commitment and terminal maturation. 

The extrinsic control of the differentiation process: the growth factors.

The intrinsic control of hematopoietic differentiation: epigenomic and transcription factor control. 

Major biochemical changes in the hematopoietic stem cell compartments during the ontogenesis and with aging. 

Other tissue specific stem cell of clinical interest.

Tissue replacement and tissue regeneration therapy.


The students will be strongly encouraged to take an independent approach to learning. They will be advaiced to adopt any international textbook in English available on-line. They will also be guided toward a critical use of internet-assisted documentation and histological archives of italian universities.

Teaching methods

Frontal lessons. The acquisition of the knowledge may be monitored with oral and written tests

Attendance Requirements: Attendance to this learning activity is mandatory; the minimum attendance requirement to be admitted to the final exam is 60% of lessons. For Integrated Courses (IC), the 60% attendance requirement refers to the total amount of I.C. lessons. Students who fail to meet the minimum attendance requirement will not be admitted to the final exam of the course and will have to attend relevant classes again during the next academic year. Professors may authorize excused absences upon receipt of proper justifying documentation, in case of illness or serious reasons. Excused absences do not count against a student’s attendance record to determine their minimum attendance requirement.

Assessment methods

The students will be evalutated by oral exams on the basis of at least three questions on the subject of the course. The subject of two questions will be randomly chosen by the professors. One question will be chosen by the student.

At the end of the examination, the professor will score the performance of the student using a number ranging from 18 to 30 according to the interpretation indicated below.

Interpretation of the score:

  • <18 failure, not scored. The student fails to satisfactory address all of the questions.
  • 18 Poor. The student inadequately addresses most of the questions with serious inherent weaknesses.
  • 21 Fair. The student broadly addresses most of the questions, but there are significant weaknesses.
  • 24 Good. The student addresses the questions well, but a number of shortcomings are present.
  • 27 Very good. The student addresses the criterion very well, but a small number of shortcomings are present.
  • 30 Excellent. The student successfully addresses all relevant aspects of the questions. Any shortcomings are minor.
  • 30 cum laude. The student successfully addresses all relevant aspects of the questions with no shortcomings.

Teaching tools

Selected meritorious slides presentations on specific subjects prepared by students of previous academic years that will be posted on line

Office hours

See the website of Anna Rita Franco Migliaccio