What are stem cells? Do all organisms have them? Why are they such a ‘hot topic’ in biomedical research? This course will examine these and related questions about the biological properties of stem cells and how they function in normal life processes and in response to injury. We will consider stem cells in many different organisms, such as plants, invertebrates, and vertebrate animals, including humans. We will also discuss the ethical and moral issues surrounding the use of human embryonic stem cells.
The format of the course will be discussion/seminar, and students will be evaluated based on class participation (presentations and discussion) and written assignments. Required readings will be assigned from a textbook and materials available on the course CTools site. A previous class in high school biology is highly recommended.