7.349 Stem Cells: A Cure or Disease?

As taught in: Spring 2011

Mouse embryonic stem cells marked in fluorescent green, viewed under a microscope

Mouse embryonic stem cells (shown in green). (Image courtesy of the National Science Foundation.)




Dr. Steve Bilodeau

Dr. Grant Welstead

Course Description

Have you ever considered going to a pharmacy to order some new cardiomyocytes (heart muscle cells) for your ailing heart? It might sound crazy, but recent developments in stem cell science have made this concept not so futuristic. In this course, we will explore the underlying biology behind the idea of using stem cells to treat disease, specifically analyzing the mechanisms that enable a single genome to encode multiple cell states ranging from neurons to fibroblasts to T cells. Overall, we hope to provide a comprehensive overview of this exciting new field of research and its clinical relevance.

This course is one of many Advanced Undergraduate Seminars offered by the Biology Department at MIT. These seminars are tailored for students with an interest in using primary research literature to discuss and learn about current biological research in a highly interactive setting. Many instructors of the Advanced Undergraduate Seminars are postdoctoral scientists with a strong interest in teaching.