Syllabus  Biology 441 Vertebrate Embryology  Albert Harris    Spring 2015

MWF 9:05-9:55 Wilson 107

Office: Room 103 Wilson Hall
Office Hours: 10-12 Mon. Wed. , or at other times by appointment

web sites: http://www. and

office phone 919-966-1230
home 919-493-1572

Teaching assistants: Amanda Whitlock and Lyndsay Ratliff


Textbook: Langman's Medical Embryology, by Thomas W. Sadler

The Biology 441 lab is NOT required for students taking the lecture course. It is a separate 1-hour course.

Biology 441 labs will begin on January 14.

Links to lecture notes, videos, review questions, and other material needed for exams, will be added as the semester progresses.


How the course will be graded

1) Wed. Jan 7 Differences and similarities between human embryos versus sea urchin embryos; lecture notes and review questions
2) Fri. Jan 9 Subdivision of embryos into germ layers; lecture notes; review questions
3) Mon. Jan 12 Embryonic development in teleost fish; lecture notes; review questions
4) Wed. Jan 14 Class canceled because of weather
5) Fri. Jan 16 Embryonic development of amphibians (= salamanders and frogs); lecture notes;
review questions on cell movements and induction
Mon. Jan 19 ******* Holiday in honor of Martin Luther King ********
6) Wed. Jan 21 Embryonic development of birds and reptiles; lecture notes and review questions;
7) Fri. Jan 23 Changes in strengths and directions of forces cause changes in shapes of cells, embryos and organs;
lecture notes
8) Mon. Jan 26 Birth defects in relation to embryonic development; lecture notes; review questions
a few more notes on twins
9) Wed. Jan 28 Review for first hour exam:
important vocabulary review
10) Fri. Jan 30 First Hour Examination
11) Mon. Feb 2 Experimental Embryology, fate maps, the mystery of embryonic regulation; lecture notes
12) Wed. Feb 4 What physical forces build anatomical structures? Pressures & cytoplasmic contraction; lecture notes
13) Fri. Feb 6 How forces create specific shapes; Tensors; Pressure = Tension x Curvature
14) Mon. Feb 9 Different kinds of amoeboid locomotion; How cells crawl using cytoplasmic actin assembly; lecture notes
15) Wed. Feb 11 Reaction-diffusion systems for generating anatomical patterns
16) Fri. Feb 13 Reaction-diffusion systems, continued; lecture notes
17) Mon. Feb 16 Symmetry explains more than most people; lecture notes
18) Wed. Feb 18 snow day
19) Fri. Feb 20 more on symmetry and pattern formation; review questions
some personal reflections on symmetry
20) Mon. Feb 23 Stem cells, and then ectodermal organs; notes on stem cells; and notes on ectodermal organs
21) Wed. Feb 25 snow day; some review questions for the exam next week
review questions mostly on the Feb 2 lecture
review questions for the Feb 4 lecture
review questions for the Feb 13 lecture
review questions on ectodermal organs

22) Fri. Feb 27 another snow day
23) Mon. Mar 2 continuing with ectoderm, and review for the exam
24) Wed. Mar 4 Second hour examination
25) Fri. Mar 6 Plant development, compared with animal embryology; lecture notes
This lecture was cancelled because of weather.
Please watch last year's video on the same topic.
26) Mon. Mar 16 Mesodermal organs; lecture notes
27) Wed. Mar 18 Mesodermal organs continued: heart (see Monday's notes)
28) Fri. Mar 20 Endodermal organs; lecture notes
29) Mon. Mar 23 Snakes! and prepatterns, positional information, shape homeostasis, and more
lecture notes
30) Wed. Mar 25 Atherosclerosis; (lecture notes)
31) Fri. Mar 27 Limb buds; lecture notes
32) Mon. Mar 30 More on diffusion gradients and limb bud grafting; lecture notes;
two figures about limb grafting that were shown in this lecture
33) Wed. Apr 1 Regeneration and apoptosis; lecture notes
  Good Friday Holiday  
  first set of review questions for the exam Monday 5 pm: Answers to the germ layer questions have been added.
second set of review questions
third set of review questions
fourth set of review questions
fifth set of review questions
  This completes the list of review questions.
Remember that you are also responsible for all photographs and diagrams in the lecture notes.
34) Mon. Apr 6 Regeneration continued, and review for the exam
35) Wed. Apr 8 Third hour examination
36) Fri. Apr 10 Sex determination: sometimes specific genes; ratios of chromosomes; or temperatures; lecture notes
37) Mon. Apr 13 Metamorphosis: Tadpoles to frogs; Caterpillars to butterflies? Plutei to urchins? lecture notes
38) Wed. Apr 15 Aging; lecture notes
Five common misunderstandings
Liesegang rings
39) Fri. Apr 17 Immunology and Autoimmunity; lecture notes; figures were added Friday 10:25 am
40) Mon. Apr 20 Cancer lecture notes; revised 10:30 pm April 21
41) Wed. Apr 22 Cancer continued
42) Fri. Apr 24 Evo-Devo; lecture notes
  first set of review questions for the final exam
second set of review questions, and some more notes
third set of review questions
fourth set of review questions; one more question was added at 8:40 am on Friday.
  FINAL EXAM: Monday May 4, at 8 AM


contact the webmaster