Fall 2021 - BISC 333 D100

Developmental Biology (3)

Class Number: 1940

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo, We, Fr 11:30 AM – 12:20 PM

  • Instructor:

    Harald Hutter
    778 782 4803
    Office: B8226
  • Prerequisites:

    BISC 202, MBB 222, MBB 231 with a grade of C- or better.



Classical and modern experimental approaches will be described for understanding development of embryos of several species having common and distinctive features. These approaches are at the organismal, cellular, molecular and genetic levels.


This is an introductory course in Developmental Biology. It focuses on a number of model organisms (plants, invertebrates and vertebrates) and addresses key questions such as: How do cells in the developing embryo differentiate into specialized cells such as neurons or muscle cells? How do these cells organize themselves to form an intact animal or plant? The course will cover the sequence of events during embryogenesis (pattern formation, cell fate specification, cell migration and morphogenetic events, cell differentiation, organogenesis) with the goal of illustrating general principles and molecular mechanisms of development.

The course is aimed at a general audience of biology students. The course is introductory but requires a basic understanding of genetics and cell and molecular biology.


  • Tutorials: 15%
  • Online quizzes: 15%
  • Midterm Exam: 20%
  • Final Exam: 50%


Mode of teaching: 

Lecture: asynchronous (recorded) 

Tutorial: synchronous 

Midterm: take-home exam. date: TBA 

Final exam: take-home exam. date: TBA




Course needs

Because of the current covid situation, this course will be mainly delivered remotely. To successfully participate in this course, you need internet access. Lectures will be ‘asynchronous’, i.e. recorded. Tutorials will be in person on campus.

Midterm and final exams will be take-home exams.

Note: if the additional requirements for remote teaching (e.g. videoconferencing equipment) would prevent you from taking this course, please mail me (hutter@sfu.ca) so that we can find a solution.

Effective immediately, the Department of Biological Sciences is adopting a mandatory mask policy for all areas under Biology’s control and in spaces elsewhere where Biology faculty teach, applying to everyone regardless of vaccination status.



Principles of Development (5th or 6th Edition)

Lewis Wolpert; Oxford University Press,

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/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


Teaching at SFU in fall 2021 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with approximately 70 to 80 per cent of classes in person/on campus, with safety plans in place.  Whether your course will be in-person or through remote methods will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the fall 2021 term.