Fall 2022 - MBB 440 D100

Selected Topics in Contemporary Molecular Biology (3)

Stem Cell Biology & Applications

Class Number: 2324

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 7 – Dec 6, 2022: Tue, 12:30–2:20 p.m.

    Sep 7 – Dec 6, 2022: Thu, 12:30–2:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    will depend upon the nature of the topic offered.



The topics in this course will vary from term to term, depending on faculty availability and student interest.


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.

Department Undergraduate Notes:

  • 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 Accessible Learning (778-782-3112 or e-mail:  caladmin@sfu.ca)

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website 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