Cell and Developmental Biology

General Course Information

Course Lecturer Name(s):  Cristofre Martin

Course Director Name:  Cristofre Martin

Course Lecturer(s) Contact Information:  cmartin@sgu.edu

Course Director Contact Information: cmartin@sgu.edu 

Course Lecturer(s) Office Hours:  By appointment 

Course Director Office Hours: By appointment

Course Lecturer(s) Office Location:  Caribbean House, 2nd floor

Course Director Office Location:Caribbean House, 2nd floor

Course Support:   Akima Ventour, Email:  aventou2@sgu.edu, Phone:  Ext 3435

Course Management tool: To learn to use Sakai, the Course management tool, access the link https://apps.sgu.edu/members.nsf/mycoursesintro.pdf

Course Curriculum Information

Course Description: 

The course covers topics ranging from gametogenesis (formation of sperm and eggs), organogenesis (formation of tissues), and evolution.  The material is comparative using examples from both invertebrates and vertebrate model systems.  The student will be provided with a foundation of classical embryology (embryo anatomy) while focusing on differential gene expression as the driving force that shapes an embryo.  Topics of interest to society including human infertility, human birth defects, assisted reproductive technologies and embryonic stem cells will be included in the curriculum.

Course Objectives: 

The objectives of this course will be to provide the student with an understanding of developmental processes across animal phyla with an emphasis on genetic mechanism that drive the developmental process.

Student Learning Outcomes:

  1. Compare stages of embryonic development in both invertebrates and vertebrate systems from gametogenesis to organogenesis.
  2. Apply knowledge of errors in genetics and morphogenesis that can give rise to the developmental abnormalities and disease state.
  3. Identify the principle cellular mechanisms of embryonic development and differentiation and indicate the underlying molecular and genetic elements.
  4. Analyze experimental approaches and how they are applied to solve specific problems in cell and developmental biology

Program Outcomes Met By This Course:

BIOL – PLO1:  Apply the scientific process for conducting laboratory and diagnostic experiments, testing hypothesis, interpreting data and communicating results.

BIOL – PLO2:  Apply knowledge of the basic structures and fundamental processes of life at the molecular, cellular and organismal levels.

BIOL – PLO3:  Apply knowledge of the structure and function of the human body to health issues.

BIOL – PLO6:  Demonstrate problem solving and critical thinking skills.

SAS Grading Scale: Grades will be assigned as follows:

A  = 89.5% or better

B+ = 84.5 - 89.4%

B  = 79.5 - 84.4%

C+ = 74.5 - 79.4%

C = 69.5 - 74.4%

D = 64.5 - 69.4%

F = 64.4% or less 

Course Materials:

Text: Text: Text: S.F. Gilbert (2010).  Developmental Biology (9th Edition).  Sinauer.   Copies and other editions are available on reserve in the library.    

6th Edition available online: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK9983/


Supplementary Readings/Resources: N/A

Course Grading Requirement:

Evaluation will consist of four examinations (25 points each) and 10 online quizzes (0.5 points each for a total of 5 points). The total points for the course are 105 points. The format of the exam is multiple choice, single best answer type questions.   Some question may include an image.  All examinations are noncumulative.

Course Requirements:

Students will be required to: 

  1. be prepared for live class sessions by completing the course vocabulary and course objectives; 
  2. conduct themselves in an appropriate manner, including being respectful of the opinions and contributions of others; 
  3. listen carefully to instructions given by the Course Director and Instructors.  If you do not understand, ask questions.

Course Schedule




1 (Jan 17)


Introduction to the course



Overview of development/Genomic Equivalence/Gene Expression  




2 (Jan 24)


Origin of primordial germ cells/Spermatogenesis  (Asynchronous recording)



Oogenesis and oocyte maturation  (Asynchronous recording)




3 (Jan 31)





Cleavage stage:  Comparative phylogenetic patterns




4 (Feb 7)


Independence Day Holiday  (DLA#1)



Cleavage:  Translational control of oocyte messages



Turningpoint IMCQ (Time to be determined)




5 (Feb 14)

FEB 14

Examination #1 (Sessions 1 to 6 including DLA#1)







6 (Feb 21)


Cell determination:  Mosaic development



Inductive/Regulative development  (Asynchronous recording)




7 (Feb 28)


Neurulation and neural crest cells



Eye development



Turningpoint IMCQ (Time to be determined)






Examination # 2 (Sessions 7 to 11) (held during midterm week)




9 (Mar 14)


Vertebrate limb development







10 (Mar 21)


Stem cells



Evo-Devo:  Evolution and development




11 (Mar 28)


Making of a fly



Environmental regulation of development




12 (April 4)


Human Infertility



Elements of Human development



Turningpoint IMCQ (Time to be determined)

13 (April 11)


Examination #3 (Session 12-16)



Human Infertility




14 (April 18)





Prenatal Diagnosis (Dr. Mary Maj)




15 (April 25)


Monsters and mutants:  Human birth defects



Turningpoint IMCQ (Time to be determined)

Online Quiz Schedule

Online quiz will be open from the date indicated.   You will have unlimited number of attempts to do the quiz but you must score 7/10 or greater in order to receive points.  These online quiz will serve as practice questions for the course.  All online quizzes must be completed by May 1, 2022 at 9:00 am.

Quiz #

Start Date



Jan 26



Feb 2



Feb 9



Feb 23

7 - 9


March 2



March 16



March 23



March  30



April 6



April 25


School of Arts and Sciences Master Syllabi — Info for All Sections

Plagiarism Policy

Academic Integrity

The St. George’s University Student Manual (2019/2020) states as follows:

Plagiarism is regarded as a cardinal offense in academia because it constitutes theft of the work of someone else, which is then purported as the original work of the plagiarist. Plagiarism draws into disrepute the credibility of the Institution, its faculty, and students; therefore, it is not tolerated” (p. 48).

Plagiarism also includes the unintentional copying or false accreditation of work, so double check your assignments BEFORE you hand them in.

Be sure to do good, honest work, credit your sources and reference accordingly and adhere to the University’s Honor Code. Plagiarism and cheating will be dealt with very seriously following the university’s policies on Plagiarism as outlined in the Student Manual.

Your work may be subject to submission to plagiarism detection software, submission to this system means that your work automatically becomes part of that database and can be compared with the work of your classmates.

Attendance Requirement

The St. George’s University Student Manual (2019/2020) states as follows:

Students are expected to attend all classes and or clinical rotations for which they have registered. Although attendance may not be recorded at every academic activity, attendance may be taken randomly. Students’ absence may adversely affect their academic status as specified in the grading policy. If absence from individual classes, examinations, and activities, or from the University itself is anticipated, or occurs spontaneously due to illness or other extenuating circumstances, proper notification procedures must be followed. A particular course may define additional policies regarding specific attendance or participation” (p. 9).

Examination Attendance

The St. George’s University Student Manual (2019/2020) states as follows:

All matriculated students are expected to attend all assigned academic activities for each course currently registered. Medical excuses will be based on self-reporting by students. Students who feel they are too sick to take an examination or other required activity on a specific day must submit the online SAS medical excuse, which is available on Carenage. Students are only allowed two such excuses a year. Upon consultation with the Director of University Health Service, the third excuse will result in a mandatory medical leave of absence. The policies regarding make-up examinations are at the option of the Course Director” (p.46).

For additional specific examination policies and procedures, refer to the St. George’s University Student Manual (2019/2020), pages 31 through 37.

Student Accessibility and Accommodation Services Policy

The St. George’s University Student Manual (2019/2020) states as follows:

A student with a disability or disabling condition that affects one or more major life activities, who would like to request an accommodation, must submit a completed application form and supporting documentation to the Student Accessibility and Accommodation Services (SAAS) located in the Dean of Students Office. It is highly recommended that students applying for accommodations do so at least one month before classes begin to allow for a more efficient and timely consideration of the request. If a fully completed application is not submitted in a timely fashion, an eligibility determination may not be made, and accommodations, where applicable, may not be granted prior to the commencement of classes and/or examinations” (p. 8).


It is the responsibility of the student to read and understand the policies, laws, rules and procedures that while they could affect your grade for a course, have not been specifically outlined in the course syllabus. These are contained in the St. George’s University Student Manual.