66642 - Cellular Biotechnology

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Laura Calzà

  • Credits 6

  • SSD VET/01

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures

  • Language Italian

  • Campus of Bologna

  • Degree Programme First cycle degree programme (L) in Biotechnology (cod. 8005)

  • Course Timetable from Mar 01, 2022 to May 31, 2022


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Good health and well-being Oceans Life on land

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the student has basic knowledge of experimental embryology, including techniques for propagation and differentiation of embryonic and adult somatic stem cells. In particular, the student knows the genetic determinants and molecular control of proliferation and differentiation of the inner mass, body axis determination, structural specializations (limbs, head, etc..), the polarization of the embryo, mesodermal induction and notochord formation. Also knows and has the ability to critically evaluate the literature and protocols related to the isolation and maintenance of totipotency and / or differentiation of embryonic stem cells; reprogramming somatic cells; isolation and maintenance of hematopoietic, mesenchymal, epithelial, neural and stem cells derived from fetal annexes.

Course contents

1. Introduction to the course; model organisms and the main methods of study

2. Male and female gametes, fertilization. Polarization of the oocyte , the acrosome reaction, cytoplasmic rotation

3. Embryonic stem cells: totipotent, pluripotent, multipotency, differentiation and terminal differentiation; cell cycle and asymmetric division; lineage determinants. Cellular reprogramming : nuclear transfer and genetic reprogramming. Induced pluripotent cells.

4. Morula and blastula : segmentation, compaction, determination.

5. Gastrulation in non-mammalian model organisms: maps of specification. mammalian gastrulation. Epithelial-mesenchymal transition.

6. Polarization of the embryo, formation of the anterior-posterior, dorsal-ventral and medial-lateral axes. The developmental genes: maternal, segmentation and homeotic genes

7. Ectoderm and its development : formation of the notochord , neuroectoderm, folds, neural tube. In vivo and in vitro Neurogenesis; in vivo and in vitro development of the skin

8. Mesoderm and its development : para- axial , intermediate, lateral ; somitogenesis and myogenesis . Anterio-posterior and lateral folding. in vivo and in vitro vasculogenesis and cardiogenesis

9. Endoderm and its development: genetic determinants of the gut segmentation, stomach rotation; liver and pancreas formation and in vivo and in vitro genetic and epigenetic determinants

10. Limb and body appendices formation

11. From embryology to regenerative medicine: protocols for differentiation of embryonic stem cells; 3D culture systems; artificial scaffolds for cell differentiation.


Developmental Biology, Gilbert SF, Freeman, 2008; Websites and eBooks previously presented and explained in class.

Teaching material presented to class will be available through a username and password at AMS Campus - AlmaDL - University of Bologna.

The educational material presented in class does not replace but supplement the reference texts, and is a guide for the selection and understanding of the subject matter. It is advisable not to print the material well in advance of the lesson of reference: the teacher could make changes.

Teaching methods


Assessment methods

The assessment consists of a written evaluation (optional) and a final oral examination.

Ongoing evaluation, performed on the points 1 to 7 of the program, will be proponed at the middle and at the end of the course as a written test with 10 multiple-choice and / or open questions, with a score from 0 to 3 for each question. The aim is to offer a self-evaluation instrument to the student. The student is free to accept or reject the outcome of the ongoing evaluation.

The final oral examination will focus on 8 to 16 points of the program for students who have supported and accepted the outcome of the ongoing evaluation; on all points of the program for students who did not support the ongoing evaluation or who do not have accepted the assessment.

The knowledge checks will give priority the conceptual aspects than purely notional and will aim to assess the fundamental knowledge of matter, their independent judgment, the ability to learn even with stand-alone tools, the ability to communicate scientific concepts.

Teaching tools

Material: the material presented in class will be made available to the student in electronic format via the Internet. Such material should be printed and brought to class.

To get educational materials: https://virtuale.unibo.it/

Username and password are reserved for students enrolled at the University of Bologna.

Office hours

See the website of Laura Calzà