This course will study development and the male and female reproductive systems.  It will follow through the processes of fertilisation, implantation, and the adaptation of the female to pregnancy and lactation.  Development of the organism will be traced, with the major emphasis on understanding of key concepts in developmental biology.

Lecture outline

  • Male and Female Reproductive Biology
  • Infertility in humans and animals
  • Sexual reflexes
  • Fertilisation and Implantation of the early embryo
  • Placenta, Pregnancy and Birth
  • Lactation
  • Assisted Reproduction technologies
  • Developmental biology - cleavage, from 1 cell to many
  • Gastrulation
  • Early embryogenesis and axis patterning
  • Organogenesis - formation of the heart, sex determination, limb development, development of the head and neck
  • Guest lectures from researchers and medical professionals.

Lab classes

There are a total of 10 laboratory classes, running for around 2 hours for each session.  During the classes we make use of variety of resources to not only aid understanding of lecture topics but to introduce you to how health and medical research is performed in laboratories across the world.  These include material such as human prosections and plasticinated anatomy models (preserved human tissue), histology sections, bull semen, embryos from sea urchins, Xenopus, mouse, zebrafish and chicken.

 Make your own clay embryo and take it home











The lactation laboratory - hormonal control of milk letdown




30% internal assessment

  • Short answer question test
  • Laboratory report
  • 1 page Research proposal

70% final exam



Dr Megan Wilson (http://wilsonlab.ac.nz)

Dr Elspeth Gold (http://gold-lab.otago.ac.nz/)

Dr Christine Jasoni (http://develneuro.otago.ac.nz/)