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Unit information: Developmental Genetics and Embryonal Cancers in 2018/19

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Unit name Developmental Genetics and Embryonal Cancers
Unit code PANM33003
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Professor. Malik
Open unit status Not open



3 from level 6/H lecture units and Research Skills unit.

School/department School of Cellular and Molecular Medicine
Faculty Faculty of Life Sciences


This unit will consider molecules, mechanisms and pathways that are critical in regulating early developmental processes. By understanding this, the students will gain an appreciation of how defects and diversions of normal growth control can lead to developmental diseases. In particular, the course will elaborate on aberrations that contribute to carcinogenesis. Lectures will be in weeks 1-4.

This unit will outline how critical molecules, pathways and mechanisms regulate cell growth and development, and examine the pathological consequences of aberrant control. Lectures will expand on understanding:

  1. Transcription factors and disease.
  2. Critical signalling pathways.
  3. Maintenance of pluripotency in embryonic/cancer stem cells.
  4. The molecular basis of epigenetic gene regulation.
  5. key genes and mechanisms involved in embryonal cancers such as neuroblastoma and Wilms' tumour.

Intended learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding of the principles of developmental genetics and how defects in normal growth control can lead to embryonal cancers.

Knowledge of the relevant scientific literature and an ability to evaluate this literature critically.

Teaching details

Lectures, Data Handling Session.

Independent study: Students are expected to study the recommended literature.

Assessment Details

Summative 3 hour written exam, to include 3 essays chose from 6.

Reading and References

Reviews and primary articles from the current scientific literature.