Spring 2015 - MBB 440 D100
Selected Topics in Contemporary Molecular Biology (3)
Class Number: 5098
Delivery Method: In Person
The topics in this course will vary from term to term, depending on faculty availability and student interest.
In this lecture/seminar course, we will examine the primary research literature on epithelial biology. Epithelia are critical tissues in the development and function of multicellular eukaryotes, and depend on the ability of epithelial cells to adhere to each other and form almost impermeable sheets. These sheets separate the inside of the body from the outside and separate different compartments of the body from each other. We will consider the remarkable plasticity of epithelia, examining how cell shape change and rearrangement in epithelia are used to sculpt developing organisms, and how failures in epithelial morphogenesis underlie many birth defects. We will examine how epithelial cells are generally polarized along the apicobasal axis and in the plane of the tissue. The repair and maintenance of epithelia are essential for organismal survival and we will examine how wound healing and epithelial stem cells keep these tissues functional. Classes will consist of lectures and student presentations and discussion of recent research articles.
Topics will include:
1. Evolution of epithelia
2. Techniques for studying epithelia
3. How to build an epithelium: emergence of apicobasal and planar cell polarity
4. How to bring an epithelium to its final form: epithelial morphogenesis
5. Breaking down and reassembling epithelia: epithelial-mesenchymal transition and mesenchymal-epithelial transition
6. Epithelial fusions: Developmental sealing of epithelia and wound healing
7. Maintaining an epithelium: epithelial stem cells
8. Epithelia and microbial defense
- Midterm Exam 20%
- Oral Presentation 25%
- Class Participation 20%
- Final term paper 35%
We will read review articles and primary research papers only. A basic cell biology textbook may be used by students as a refresher on certain topics.
Department Undergraduate Notes:
- Students are advised to review the plagiarism tutorial found at
- For help with writing, learning and study strategies please contact the Student Learning Commons at
- Students requiring accommodations as a result of a disability, must contact the Centre for Students with Disabilities (778-782-3112 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)
SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://students.sfu.ca/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.
Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html
ACADEMIC INTEGRITY: YOUR WORK, YOUR SUCCESS