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Unit of study_

PHSI3910: Reproduction, Development and Disease Adv

The aim of this unit is to provide students with advanced knowledge of the physiological processes that regulate normal and how these may go awry leading to significant human conditions or even disease. Lectures will focus on; male and female reproductive physiology, endocrinology of reproduction, physiology of fertilisation, cell cycle control and apoptosis, mechanisms of differentiation, gastrulation, cardiovascular development, tissue formation and organogenesis, stem cell biology and the link between developmental processes and cancer. Practical classes will examine the processes regulating reproductive physiology, sexual dimorphism and human pathophysiology. Students enrolling in PHSI3910 complete a separate laboratory class centered on stem cell differentiation to replace the problem-based learning exercises in PHSI3010.


Academic unit
Unit code PHSI3910
Unit name Reproduction, Development and Disease Adv
Session, year
Semester 1, 2020
Attendance mode Normal day
Location Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney
Credit points 6

Enrolment rules

A mark of 70 or above in {6cp from (PHSI2X07 or MEDS2001) or 12cp from [(PHSI2X05 and PHSI2X06) or (BCMB2X02 or BIOL2X29 or GEGE2X01) or (BMED2402 or BMED2403 or BMED2406)]}
Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff and contact details

Coordinator Stephen John Assinder,
Type Description Weight Due Length
In-semester test Mid semester quiz
Online MCQ via Canvas Quiz
20% - 45 min
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO4 LO3 LO2
Final exam Final exam
Online MCQ via Canvas quiz
40% Formal exam period 2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO7 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
Tutorial quiz In depth research/problem based learning
Presentation via Zoom/Online Quiz OR Wikipedia page/Online Quiz
40% Multiple weeks ~1000 word report AND 30min quiz
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100

Work of exceptional standard: Mastery of topics showing extensive integration and ability to transfer knowledge to novel contexts; treatment of tasks shows an advanced synthesis of ideas; demonstration of initiative, complex understanding and analysis; work is very well presented; all criteria addressed and learning outcomes achieved to an outstanding level.


75 - 84

Work of superior standard: Excellent achievement, consistent evidence of deep understanding and application of knowledge in medical science; treatment of tasks shows advanced understanding of topics; demonstration of initiative, complex understanding and analysis; work is well-presented; all criteria addressed and learning outcomes achieved to a superior level.


65 - 74

Competent work demonstrating potential for higher study: Confident in explaining medical science processes, with evidence of solid understanding and achievement; occasional lapses indicative of unresolved issues; treatment of tasks shows a good understanding of topic; work is well-presented with a minimum of errors; all criteria addressed and learning outcomes achieved to a high level.


50 - 64

Work of acceptable standard: Satisfactory level of engagement with and understanding of topic; some inconsistencies in understanding and knowledge of medical science; work is adequately presented, with some errors or omissions, most criteria addressed and learning outcomes achieved to an adequate level.


0 - 49

Work not of acceptable standard: Unsatisfactory achievement and engagement with the discipline; inadequate understanding or fundamental misunderstanding of topics; most criteria and learning outcomes not clearly or adequately addressed or achieved; lack of effort/involvement in the unit.

For more information see

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Special consideration

If you experience short-term circumstances beyond your control, such as illness, injury or misadventure or if you have essential commitments which impact your preparation or performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Multiple weeks Embryonic stem cell/frontier wikipedia activity Project (30 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Week 01 1. Introduction; 2. Reproductive messengers 1: mechanics of development; 3. Reproductive messengers 2: canonical and non-canonical actions of sex steroids Lecture (3 hr)  
Week 02 1. Why sexual reproduction?; 2. Sneaky sex; 3. Gonadal development Lecture (3 hr)  
Week 03 1. Endocrine regulation of male repro 1; 2. Endocrine regulation of male repro 2; 3. Female reproductive physiology Lecture (3 hr)  
Week 04 1. In vivo/vitro fertilisation; 2. Pre-implantation embryogenesis Lecture (2 hr)  
Week 05 1. Physiology of pregnancy; 2. Pregnancy and foetal immunology Lecture (2 hr)  
Week 06 1. Sexual dimorphism of the gut mircobiome and reproductive stages; 2. Mitochondria, fertility and mitochondrial disease Lecture (2 hr)  
Week 07 1. Modelling embryogenesis; 2. The germ layers Lecture (2 hr)  
Week 09 1. Stem cell technologies; 2. Ectoderm: grow a brain Lecture (2 hr)  
Week 10 1. Lateral plate mesoderm: osteogenesis/limb formation; 2. Sexual dimorphism in bone development Lecture (2 hr)  
Week 11 1. Endoderm; 2. Prostate Cancer Lecture (2 hr)  
Week 12 1. Mammary gland development; 2. Breast cancer Lecture (2 hr)  
Week 13 1. Review session; 2. Unit wrap-up Lecture (2 hr)  

Attendance and class requirements

Attendance: All students are expected to attend all lectures, practical classes, tutorials, and PBL activities. A variety of notes, handouts, datasheets, and information provided throughout the Unit of Study are intended to supplement the learning activities and not to substitute for them. Absences from all scheduled practical sessions, tutorials and PBLs must be explained and supported by appropriate documentation. Detailed information is provided on Canvas.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University’s graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. describe the processes regulating male and female reproductive systems
  • LO2. provide examples of how reproductive physiology can be altered, either intentionally for human benefit, or unintentionally by environmental and other agents
  • LO3. describe the evolutionary biology behind sexual reproduction and give examples of unusual forms of sexual reproduction
  • LO4. explain important steps in embryonic and foetal development with particular emphasis on the physiological processes regulating normal development
  • LO5. describe the similarities between embryonic developmental processes and those involved in tumour formation and metastasis such as re-activation of embryonic gene expression in the adult and epithelial-mesenchymal transition
  • LO6. describe some of the pathophysiology behind important human medical conditions involving reproductive or embryonic processes such as infertility; autoimmune diseases, cancer, diseases of developmental origin or adult-onset
  • LO7. demonstrate familiarity with sterile cell culture technique and the methods for modelling embryogenesis in vitro using mouse embryonic stem cells.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities
No changes in response to student feedback have been necessary.


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