Reproductive and Developmental Sciences
Dr Mark Sullivan
This course includes all aspects of human reproductive and developmental biology, addressing them from the perspective of the fundamental mechanisms that control these normal physiological processes, and then considering our current knowledge of the most important pathologies.
It is not possible within a period of 15 weeks to consider all possible topics in great depth, so in some parts of the course selected subject areas will be considered, as examples of the understanding that we now have. This course will include consideration of some selected topics of particular interest, to demonstrate how fundamental science can lead to a better understanding of normal and pathological processes in reproduction and development.
Aims and objectives
- To consider the processes required for successful reproduction, including the detailed mechanisms involved
- To provide an understanding of how the latest scientific knowledge can inform and improve clinical practice and treatments
- To appreciate the interactions between events before or during pregnancy, and the impact these can in the short or longer term on mother and infant
- To assess rigorously how much we understand the mechanisms underlying the main pathologies of human reproduction and development
- To appreciate the most recent insights from fundamental research, and to consider how these may inform further clinical and translational approaches
After taking this course students will:
- Have an awareness of the main characteristics and events in human reproduction and development
- Have a greater knowledge of the regulatory systems that determine normal and abnormal function of these critical events
- Have been introduced to the most recent science underpinning our understanding of human reproduction, from the earliest stages of life, through pregnancy, to infanthood
- Be able to summarise more of the mechanisms and impact of the primary complications that are unique in their effect on female health, namely gynaecological cancers and the menopause
- Have been introduced to the normal development of the infant in utero, at the time of delivery and at the beginning of independent life
- Have a greater appreciation for the vulnerability of the preterm human infant, and how the preterm and term infant reacts to their environment
- Be able to summarise the main effects of paediatric infection on an infant, and identify the main processes involved
- Be able to identify the effects of paediatric allergic diseases and the main mechanisms involved
With the exception of BSc Management and BSc Biomedical Engineering, all of Imperial College's intercalated BSc courses are split into Parts A, B and C. Parts A and B run from September until February and comprise teaching on the BSc course topic. Part C, which runs from March until May, gives students the opportunity to undertake a project.
The BSc project is a ten-week research project, which gives students a valuable opportunity to learn about scientific research. The project is assessed via an oral presentation of the project (25% of Part C marks) and a 5000-word project write-up (75% of Part C marks). Examples of the type of projects available can be found in this list of past BSc project titles (PDF).