Embryology: Concepts & Techniques in Modern Developmental Biology

Course Information

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2020 class of students are automatically accepted into the class of 2021 and we are not taking applications at this time.

Watch the Embryology WebinarCourse Date: May 23 – June 30, 2021

Deadline: TBD

2020 Lecture Schedule

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 estimate: $3,078 (*Actual costs may be greater based on number of nights of occupancy). 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.

2020 Course Faculty & Lecturers

Carole Labonne
David Sherwood
Carrie Albertin
Leslie Babonis
Shirin Bhmanyar
Cynthia Bradham
William Browne
Lisa Cameron
Otger Campas
Chenbei Chang
Angela DePace
Jessica Feldman
Bob Goldstein
Richard Harland
Jonathan Henry
Veronica Hinman
Sally Horne-Badovinac
Michelle Itano
Celina Julano
Ray Keller
Mike Levine

Peter Lwigale
David Matus
Neva Meyers
Armin Moczek
Elke Ober
Nipam Patel
Tatijana Piotrowski
Jaime Rivera
Matt Ronshaugen
Alejandro Sanchez Alvarado
Tatjana Sauka-Spengler
Asako Shindo
Rachel Smith-Bolton
Mansi Srivastava
Billie Swalla
Cliff Tabin
Paul Trainor
Athula Wikramanayake
Andrea Wills
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.