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The ISSCR Education Committee has prepared a syllabus and learning guide to aid instructors in preparing a course on the “Introduction to Stem Cell Biology.” The materials are intended for teaching undergraduate students, early graduate students, or medical students who are interested in stem cell biology. This course assumes a working knowledge of basic cellular, molecular, and developmental biology (please see additional resources in full pdf).

Course Description:

What defines a stem cell? How many types of stem cells are there? How do cells that have the potential to become any cell in the body gain specific identity and function? How can stem cells be used to understand and treat diseases? What are the ethical considerations of stem cell science? These are the types of questions we will delve into during the “Introduction to Stem Cell Biology.” Through topic-centered modules, the class examines different types of stem cells in the body and in the lab, dissects the key concepts of pluripotency, specification, and differentiation, and covers cutting-edge technologies used to study stem cells. Moreover, the course explores how stem cells are being translated for clinical application and the corresponding ethical questions. The class emphasizes molecular genetic regulation of each step. At the end of the course, students will have a basic understanding of stem cell biology and be able to build upon this in upper-level courses. Because the syllabus is anchored by peer-reviewed primary literature, the material can be used to develop higher-level skills that are necessary for thinking like a scientist. Classic experiments can be used for conceptual knowledge or further dissected to understand hypothesis generation, experimental design logic, result interpretation, and discussion.

Disclaimer: The ISSCR is providing these educational resources to aid in course preparation. It is incumbent upon the individual user to ensure that the material they present is up to date and properly presented.

These resources made possible due to the hard work and dedication of the ISSCR Education Committee. For any question please contact Julie Perlin, PhD, Scientific Communications and Education Manager at jperlin@isscr.org.


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Education Committee

Esteban Orlando Mazzoni, PhD (Chair)
New York University, USA

William J. Anderson, PhD
Harvard University, USA

Sina Bartfeld, PhD
University of Wuerzburg, Germany

Anna Couturier
EuroStemCell and University of Edinburgh, UK

Yvanka de Soysa, PhD
Boston Children's Hospital, USA

Robin Scott Hawley, PhD
Stowers Institute for Medical Research, USA

Ping Hu, PhD
Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology Chinese Academy of Sciences, China

Yuin Han Jonathan Loh, PhD
Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, Singapore

Lolitika Mandal, PhD
Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Mohali, India

Zubin Master, PhD
Mayo Clinic, USA

Alysson Renato Muotri, PhD
University of California, San Diego, USA

Jose Maria Polo, PhD
Monash University, Australia

Julie Perlin, PhD
International Society for Stem Cell Research, USA