HomeUndergraduate ProgramsNon-Major CoursesBio 44: Stem cells and the Brain

Bio 44: Stem cells and the Brain

Bio 44: Stem cells and the Brain is taught in Winter Quarter by Professors Mathew Blurton-Jones and Sunil Gandhi.

matthewblurtonjones_100614_02_daa_a472x315 (from Chair Office) Dr. Gandhi picture
Dr. Mathew Blurton-Jones Dr. Sunil Gandhi

This course aims to introduce non-major students with no background in biology to the exciting new field of stem cell neuroscience. We will survey some of the latest advances in healing the brain using neural stem cells. We will also discuss how the brain naturally produces new neurons. The course aims to excite students by exposing them to cutting edge medical research. It is also designed to provoke students to grapple with the ethical and regulatory dilemmas posed by neural stem cell science.

The course is taught in lecture format and includes a field trip to UCI’s Sue and Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center.  No textbook is required. Grades are determined by performance on a midterm and final and by class participation.

Sample Syllabus:

Course Overview

A Quick Tour of the Brain

Critical Periods of Brain Development

Rewiring the Adult Brain

Neurogenesis in the Adult Brain

Stem Cells as Therapeutic Agents

Brain Cell Replacement Strategies

Cell Suicide

Stress and Neurogenesis

Exercise and Neurogenesis

Differentiation of Brain Cells

Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells


Midterm Exam

Alzheimer’s Disease

Parkinson’s Disease

Microglial Stem Cells



Tour of Stem Cell Lab

Brain Trauma

Immune Rejection

Rare Pediatric Disorders

Delivery Technology

Successes/Caveats for Clinical Translation

Ethics and Regulation of Stem Cell research


Final Discussion