What defines a stem cell? How many types of stem cells are there? How can stem cells be used to understand and treat diseases? To answer those questions and many more, the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) has designed a dynamic syllabus and learning guide geared towards teaching undergraduates and medical students the fundamentals of stem cell biology. Core Concepts in Stem Cell Biology: Syllabus and Learning Guide incorporates key learning objectives and
annotated foundational papers to assist educators with this subject.
“Stem cell research and regenerative medicine is a rapidly advancing field,” ISSCR President Christine Mummery, PhD, Leiden University Medical Center, the Netherlands, said. “The ISSCR is delighted to introduce this global education resource that can be adapted to many types of university and medical school courses that teach fundamental concepts in stem cell biology.”
Educators can use the material to teach an entire stem cell biology course or integrate any of the eight core concepts into an existing class. The course syllabus also explores how stem cells are being translated for clinical application and the related ethical questions. Complete with learning objectives, annotated foundational papers, and a bibliography, this resource is available to the scientific community at bit.ly/ISSCRcoreconcepts.
“The first time I started putting together a syllabus to teach stem cell biology, I realized that there was a lack of resource available to help create a syllabus and identify key topics and materials,” said Esteban Mazzoni, PhD, New York University, USA, who is Chair of the ISSCR Education Committee that led this initiative. “The syllabus and learning guide were developed to correct that absence of educator resources. It is important that we provide accurate, scientifically-vetted information and resources regarding stem cell biology and clinical treatments to better inform students.”
By the end of the course, students will have a basic understanding of stem cell biology and be able to build upon this in upper-level courses. Because the syllabus and learning guide are anchored by peer-reviewed primary literature, the material can be used to develop higher-level skills necessary for thinking like a scientist. Classic experiments can be used for conceptual knowledge or further dissected to understand hypothesis generation, experimental design logic, result interpretation, and discussion.