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Unit information: Developmental Genetics and Embryonal Cancers in 2021/22

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

Description including Unit Aims

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 Information

Lectures, Data Handling Session.

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

Assessment Information

Exam to include 2 essays, one essay to be chosen from each section containing three questions.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. PANM33003).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.