BIOL 440
Cell Signaling and Tissue Engineering: A Potential Fountain of Youth? Spring 2025
Division III Writing Skills

Class Details

It is a long quest of mankind to have a healthy and long life but it is inevitable that our bodies lose function due to injury, disease or as we grow old. At the heart of tissue engineering is the idea that we can restore tissue function by replacing with or rebuild the right structure. To artificially generate tissues, organs or even organisms, one fundamental question must be addressed: How do our different organs, composed of cells with the identical genetic information, develop into such functionally different organs? Through the lens of tissue engineering, we will explore the mechanism by which cells sense the surrounding physical and chemical cues, and respond by changing their gene expression and consequent behaviors. We will devote most of our discussion to the scientific rationale and challenges of tissue engineering. Topics to be covered include 3D organoids in regenerative medicine, disease modeling, biobanking and drug discovery, computational modeling of stem cell dynamics, tissue growth and pattern formation, mechanotransduction, biomaterial fabrication, immunomodulation and cultured meat. Bioengineering of bone and cartilage, cardiovascular and nervous systems, etc. will be presented as case studies to illustrate details of certain aspects of tissue engineering in the broader context of the overall strategic approach used to solve a clinical problem. We will also consider the role of social factors like legislative regulation, health care philosophy, ethics and economics in the process of moving concept into the clinic and market.
The Class: Format: tutorial
Limit: 10
Expected: 10
Class#: 3164
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: six 4-5 page papers; six 1-2 page response papers; tutorial presentations; contribution to the intellectual enterprise
Prerequisites: BIOL202 or permission of instructor
Enrollment Preferences: Junior and seniors, with preference to senior Biology majors who have not had a 400-level course
Distributions: Division III Writing Skills
WS Notes: Each student will write six 4-5 page papers that address questions given by the professor and six 1-2 page critiques of their tutorial partner's papers, either adding to or refuting the main points made. Both papers and critiques will receive feedback from professor regarding structure, style and argument. As a final assignment, each student will write a paper that requires synthesizing/revising their ideas from the previous five papers and also a peer review of their partner's final paper.
Attributes: BIMO Interdepartmental Electives

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