Embryology: Concepts & Techniques in Modern Developmental Biology

Course Information

Course Date: May 31 – July 13, 2020Apply Here

Extended Deadline: February 11, 2020

2019 Lecture Schedule (PDF)

Course Website

Directors: Carole LaBonne, Northwestern University; and David Sherwood, Duke University

Course Description

An intensive six-week laboratory and lecture course for advanced graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and more senior researchers who seek a broad and balanced view of modern issues in developmental biology.  Limited to 24 students.

Established in 1893, the Embryology Course offers integrated lectures and laboratories that comprehensively cover the paradigms, problems, and technologies of modern developmental biology cast within a comparative framework of metazoan evolution. This course has a rich history of shaping the field with six students and eight faculty becoming Nobel Laureates, and many others being prominent leaders and pioneers.  Students are exposed to a wide variety of embryonic systems including well established and intensively studied models, both genetic (e.g., C. elegans, Drosophila, zebrafish, mouse) and experimental (e.g. chick, sea urchins, frogs, ascidians).  Students will also encounter a wide range of additional models that are equally important in their own right, including locally available marine organisms that help fill in the evolutionary history of animal diversity (e.g., cnidarians, nemerteans, planarians, crustaceans, mollusks, annelids, ctenophores).  This wide coverage of metazoan phylogeny allows for a close examination of developmental strategies and mechanisms that drive evolutionary change.  Hands-on analytical and experimental techniques used to explore invertebrate and vertebrate development involve embryological manipulation (e.g., cell ablation, tissue grafting) as well as molecular genetic (e.g., RNAi, electroporation) and cell biological approaches (e.g., analysis of cell lineage and migratory behavior).  Students will apply cutting-edge microscopy and imaging technologies (e.g., confocal and 3D time lapse) using state-of-the-art instrumentation, reagents, and methods.  Conceptual topics include cell specification and differentiation, pattern formation, embryonic axis formation, morphogenesis, intercellular signaling, transcriptional regulation, organogenesis, regeneration, evolutionary developmental biology, and comparative embryology.

Financial Information: Tuition: $6,300; Room & Board: $3,311. The admissions process at the Marine Biological Laboratory is need-blind, meaning that we evaluate students on their merits alone, without weighing their financial situations. Financial assistance will be considered for those admitted students who are in need. Upon acceptance, students will be asked to complete a financial aid request form if they need assistance.

In 2019, 100% of those students in the Embryology course who requested financial aid received some support. The amount of financial aid available from the MBL varies by course based on funding from grants and scholarships, but typically covers 70-100% of student need.

2019 Course Faculty & Lecturers

Carrie Albertin
Shirin Baymanar
Richard Behringer
Cynthia Bradham
William Browne
Lisa Cameron
Martin Chalfie
Andres Collazo
Jessica Feldman
Brigitte Galliot
Matt Gibson
Andrew Gillis
Bob Goldstein
Richard Harland
Jonathan Henry
Veronica Hinman
Sally Horne-Badovinac
Raymond Keller
Celina Juliano
Robb Krumlauf
Maria Leptin
Deirdre Lyons
David Matus

Elke Ober
Nipam Patel
Tatjana Piotrowski
Jaime Rivera
Matthew Ronshaugen
Alejandro Sanchez
Richard Schneider
Elaine Seaver
David Sherwood
Bahmanyar Shirin
Rachel Smith-Bolton
Tatiana Solovieva
Mansi Srivastava
Claudio Stern
Andrea Streit
Billie Swalla
Cliff Tabin
Paul Trainor
Zuzana Vavrusova
John Wallingford
Athula Wikramanayake
Robert Zeller

Course Support

This course is supported with funds and equipment provided by:

The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Burroughs Wellcome Fund
March of Dimes
Society for Developmental Biology
SPOT Imaging
Fine Science Tools
Grass Instruments
Hamilton Thorne
Drummond Scientific
Molecular Devices
Sutter Instruments
Harvard Apparatus / Warner
Mizar Imaging

Special thanks to The Company of Biologists which provides a scholarship for Embryology course students and posts blogs, videos, and photos of the course on The Node.