Embryology: Concepts & Techniques in Modern Developmental Biology

Course Information

Course Date: June 2 – July 15, 2019Apply Here

Deadline: February 1, 2019

2018 Lecture Schedule (PDF)

Course Website

Directors: Rich Schneider, University of California San Francisco; and David Sherwood, Duke University

Financial Information: Tuition: $6,150; Room & Board: $3,225. 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 2018, 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 80-100% of student need.

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.

2018 Course Faculty & Lecturers

Michael Akam
Carrie Albertin
Richard Behringer
Cynthia Bradham
Marianne Bronner
William Browne
Lisa Cameron
Chenbei Chang
Andres Collazo
Brigitte Galliot
Andrew Gillis
Bob Goldstein
Richard Harland
Jonathan Henry
Veronica Hinman
Brigid Hogan
Sally Horne-Badovinac
Raymond Keller
Amy Maddox
David Matus
David McClay

Lee Niswander
Elke Ober
Nipam Patel
Tatjana Piotrowski
Manu Prakash
Matthew Ronshaugen
Alejandro Sanchez Alvarado
Rich Schneider
Elaine Seaver
Dave Sherwood
Rachel Smith-Bolton
Mansi Srivastava
Claudio Stern
Andrea Streit
Susan Strome
Billie Swalla
Paul Trainor
John Wallingford
Eric Wieschaus
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.