In this unit of study, students will develop a detailed understanding of the molecular, biochemical and cellular events that regulate reproduction, and subsequently, the development of specialised cells, tissues and organs during the embryonic and foetal periods. In particular, cell signalling pathways that regulate embryonic induction, tissue interactions and pattern formation, and expression of regulator genes, will be explored and the pathological outcomes of interruption to normal processes/development will be featured. The continuous development of physiological systems throughout the foetal and neonatal periods, and the process of parturition and its induction will also be examined.         
Focus on the experimental strategies and techniques that are used to identify molecular and cellular mechanisms of development will be a feature of this unit. Students will be exposed to a range of scientific techniques through the laboratory component and will undertake a minor project.

Unit details

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RBM2540 - Pathophysiology 2

RBM2133 - Cell and Molecular Biology

HBM2106 - Human Genetics

RBM2540 - For Biomedicine students. RBM2133 and HBM2106 - For Biomedical sciences students.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Conceptually map the physiological processes that govern reproduction - from gamete production to successful fertilisation and implantation of the zygote - and contextualise the use of medical intervention to assist these processes when abnormal;  
  2. Review, analyse and conceptualise the body of research that has led to our fundamental understanding of developmental biology with particular emphasis on the embryonic and foetal stages;  
  3. Identify and evaluate the environmental and genetic influences that contribute to developmental abnormalities in the embryo/foetus, and the repercussion of these on the neonate and throughout the lifespan;  
  4. Deduce the transitional adaptations that must occur at birth to enable the foetus to survive as a neonate;  
  5. Diagnose sonographic, biochemical and/or symptomatic anomalies in the foetus/neonate and recommend the impact on future development and potential treatments;  
  6. Conceptualise the process of parturition and critically evaluate the theories underpinning its initiation; and  
  7. Commentate on various scientific techniques and methodologies used in the study of developmental biology through reading and practise, including research design and ethical consideration.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Test Two (2) Multiple choice quizzes (5% each, 30 minutes ) 10%
Laboratory Work Laboratory reports and/or presentations (500 words) 15%
Assignment Written Assignment (1200 words) 15%
Examination Final Exam (2 hours, 2000 words) 60%

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