Fall 2022 - BISC 472 D100

Special Topics in Cells, Molecules and Physiology (3)

Stem Cell Biology & Applications

Class Number: 1752

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 12:30 PM – 2:20 PM
    BLU 9660, Burnaby

    Th 12:30 PM – 2:20 PM
    SWH 10041, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    To be announced.



Selected topics in areas not currently offered within the undergraduate course offerings in the Department of Biological Sciences.


Topic:  Stem Cell Biology & Applications

Description: This course will begin with a historical review of key discoveries in stem cell biology and is structured into three modules. In module 1, we will explore the foundational biology of stem cell populations: the defining characteristics and physiological relevance of natural and reprogrammed stem cell types including embryonic, neonatal, adult and induced pluripotent stem cells. In module 2, cutting-edge technological advances involving these various stem cell populations will be explored, including current state-of-the-art approaches in modeling tissue development and genetic diseases. Module 3 will focus on current and impending therapeutic applications of stem cells: implications toward human health, barriers to regulatory approval or commercialization, and ethical considerations in stem cell research and therapies.

Topics include:

  • What defines a “stem cell”
  • The breadth of embryonic and adult stem cell types
  • Stem cells as founders of tissue development, maintenance, and regeneration
  • Strategies to obtain pluripotent and somatic stem cells in vitro
  • Experimental approaches to examine cell fate decisions
  • How to manipulate stem cells to promote tissue development and regeneration
  • Modeling genetic diseases in a dish
  • The potential of human stem cell therapies
  • Ethical considerations in stem cell research and therapies
  • Examining fact from fiction in stem cell-based literature and popular press


  • Test #1 20%
  • Test #2 20%
  • Test #3 20%
  • Writing project 25%
  • Weekly quizzes and participation 15%


This course is based on the primary literature (journal articles), which will be provided as supplementary material. There is no required text book.



MBB322 or BISC333 with a minimum grade of C or permission of the instructor.



Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


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