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Fundamentals of Reproductive Biology

East Baltimore
1st term
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
3 credits
Academic Year:
2019 - 2020
Instruction Method:
Class Times:
  • Tu Th,  3:30 - 4:50pm
Auditors Allowed:
Yes, with instructor consent
Undergrads Allowed:
Grading Restriction:
Letter Grade or Pass/Fail
Course Instructors:
Heidi DiFrancesca

A previous college-level course in basic biology is very helpful.


Are you interested in the biology underlying issues in reproductive health? This course presents material and encourages discussion geared to enhance a student's reproductive biology literacy for tackling research literature as well as issues in current events.

Addresses the basic biological mechanisms that underlie male and female reproduction and that pertain to reproductive health issues, such as contraception, infertility, sexually transmitted diseases, and reproductive aging.

Learning Objectives:

Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

  1. Explain the difference between peptide and steroid hormones and understand the mechanisms by which these hormones regulate reproductive function in their target tissues
  2. Explain how the integrated function of the hypothalamus, pituitary gland and gonads (testis/ovary) are critical for normal male and female reproduction
  3. Explain how spermatogenesis in the testis and oogenesis in the ovary are regulated during normal fertility as well as understand the various causes of infertility
  4. Understand how sperm fertilize the egg, how the zygote implants in the uterus and how early embryo development progresses
  5. Understand which factors determine the sex and phenotypic differentiation of the fetus
  6. Apply your understanding of reproductive function and hormonal regulation to the various methods for male and female contraception
  7. Apply your understanding of reproductive function and fertilization to methods for assisted reproductive technologies to circumvent infertility
Methods of Assessment:

Student evaluation is based on open-book online quizzes (60%) and an online final exam (40%).

Instructor Consent:

No consent required

Special Comments:

The course material in the first few class sessions is designed with refresher material, to bring students with limited or rusty backgrounds in the biological sciences up to speed.