Developmental Biology


The aim of the UC is to provide the student with an in-depth vision of the current knowledge of the genetic, molecular and morphogenetic bases of the early stages of animal embryonic development. The study of developmental biology will be deepened beyond the contents presented during the course on “Tissues, Cells and Molecules” (TCM) in order to provide the students a solid foundation of Knowledge that may be important to the study of embryology and in the area of Regenerative Medicine. This will endow this UC students’ knowledge that will be complementary to other CU themes, in particular in histology and Embryology and Regenerative Medicine. The program will be adjusted to minimize overlaps with the TCM CU.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Prof. Doutor José Belo


Weekly - Available soon

Total - Available soon

Teaching language





- Developmental Biology, 10th Edition (2013). Scott F. Gilbert, Sinauer Associates

- Larsen’s Human Embryology, Gary Schoenwolf, Steven Bleyl, Philip Brauer and Philippa Francis-West. Churchill Livingstone, 4th Edition, 2009.

- Essential Developmental Biology, 2nd Rev. Edition, 2006. Jonathan M. W. Slack. Blackwell Publishing.

Teaching method

The first 10 classes will be theoretical and will serve for teachers to present the contents of this CU (each lesson corresponds to two sessions of 50 minutes).
The next class will be a practical one (approximately 2 hours) and will allow students to observe the embryonic development of some animal models. The following 3 classes will be theoretical/practical (each class will have two 50- minute sessions).
In two of these classes, students will be divided into groups and each group will present a scientific article related to the themes of UC. The last class will be discussed the concepts and fundamental mechanisms of developmental biology that were addressed in the various classes.

This CU may take place in b-learning format, with the theoretical classes OnLine and with the practical class in the classroom, or even entirety in e-learning format without compromising the learning objectives.


Evaluation method


Subject matter

Basic concepts in Developmental Biology
Introduction to Drosophila, Chicken, Xenopus, Zebrafish, and mouse as model systems.

Gene expression and Cell differentiation
Gene expression and body patterning.
Establishment of body axis in vertebrates.
Establishment of asymmetries during development.

Regulation of cell polarization and cell adhesion
Polarized and transepithelial cell migration.
Tissue morphogenesis and organogenesis.
Wound healing and tissue regeneration.

Post-embryonic development.
Stem cells and homeostasis. Aging.


Programs where the course is taught: