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CODE 98798
SEMESTER 1° Semester


This course will introduce students to the most relevant concepts of stem cell biology as well as more specific information on functional characterisation of different stem cell populations (from embryonic to adult stem cells, including fetal, perinatal and tissue-specific progenitors, up to induced pluripotent and cancer stem cells) and their relevance in regenerative medicine along with stem cell trans-differentiation over paracrine potential.



Analysis of stem cell biology, focusing on their differentiation and therapeutic potential (including somatic nuclear transfer and cloning).


Lessons aim to help students to develop knowledge and specific understanding and a strong foundation in stem cell biology and their therapeutic potentail so that at the end of the course, students will be able to interpret stem cells as possible tool of therapeutic and pharmacological treatments. Lessons will be delivered from the Lecturer in English to help students develop their communicative skills.

Students are required to retain knowledge of:

- detailed comprehension on specific functional and regenerative properties of different stem cell populations;

- specific knowledge on mechanisms controlling stem/progenitor cell activation (i.e. EMT transition), differentiation potential (i.e. therapeutic cloning and reprogramming) and paracrine secretion for intercellular communication;

- develop comprehensive know-how, while improving their learning and communication skills along with capacity of critical analysis on aspects mostly relevant for future translational medicine.

Students will also acquire and further develop their communicative skills as presenting in English and discussing in front of class some original reserach articles during a journbal club activity to be perfomed as team of 2-3 students at the end of the course. Students will also be expected to retain and use the proper scientific terminology. 

Students' ability  to engage into pratical cell biology research will be fostered by practical training laboratory hours by practising techniques and protocols relevant to the main topics discussed in class (i.e. primary isolation of human stem cells versus differentiated somatic ones, isolation and charachterization of cell-secreted extracellular vesicles, immunofluorescence analyses, etc).


Students are required to posses at least basic competence in English, both as comprehensive and communicative skill. Validated knowledge on basic cell biology and on mechanisms of gene expression and regulation is also necessary.


Students are required to attend class for at least 75% of the scheduled lessons.

The module will include 36 hours of lecturing; each lecture will take place twice a week. A practical course of hands on in laboratory techniques will also be performed for a total of 32 hours within 8 days, in the afternoon (2-6pm), after lecturing will be concluded. During the laboratory activity, students will be supervised by the Lecturer with the assistance of junior reserachers (with a PhD and/or Master of Science degree) with broad expertise on the specific topics.

Classes will be managed as frontal lectures with Power Point presentations; during classes, students will be engaged in active discussion, via examples and specific exercises. If necessary, lessons may be provided on-line, through specific platforms and pre-arrangements made between the lecturer and the students.

Students can take advantage of online material (lectures power point notes) available on the AulaWeb website; such material must not be shared to a third party, neither posted online or made available on any social/sharing platform.

The Lecturer can be reached via email to arrange specific one-to-one meeting for further assistance/explanation as needed.



Introduction to stem cell biology.

Embryonic stem cells: functional characterisation and their applications in preclinical research.

Adul stem cells: hematopoietic, neural and epithelial stem cells. Mesenchymal stromal stem cells: tissue origin and their regenerative potential.

Somatic nuclear transfer from amphibians to mammals. Therapeutic cloning.

Induced pluripotent stem cells and reprogramming. Pros and cons in preclinical research and their translational potential.

Phenotypic and functional characterisation of cancer stem cells.

EMT: Epithelial - Mesenchymal Transition in cell biology.

Fetal and perinatal stem cells: definition of their regenerative potential compared to embryonic and adult stem cells.

Tissue-specific adult progenitor cells within the cardiac tissue; an example of EMT in stem cell biology: the epicardium-derived progenitor cells (EPDC).

Tissue-specific adult progenitor cellswithin the skeletal muscle. 

Stem cells, DNA damage & ageing.

Intercellular communication: stem cells, paracrine effect and extracellular vesicles in regenerative medicine


Journal Club: Oral presentation from groups of students critically discussing assigned research articles related to the topics discussed during class.

Hands On Practice on Cell Biology Laboratory

- Multipotent stem cell in vitro culture versus tissue-specific differentiated cell isolation.

-Isolation and assessment of protein concentration of stem cell secretome.

- Isolation and general characterisation of stem cell-derived extracellular vesicles.

- microRNA isolation from circulating extracellular vesicle within blood samples.

- Quantification of proteins associated with extracellular vesicles.

- Evaluation of extracellular vesicle internalization by responder cells.

- Immunofluorescence techniques.



Lecturers will provided power point slides at the end of the class as available to be downloaded from the AulaWeb website, as supporting material, which must not be either disclosed to third or shared on line or posted on social media. Laboratory protocols will be also made available before the practical hands on course starts.

For the journal club activity, Lecturers will made available for students to choose some original research articles published on peer-reviewed international journals; students will work on them in groups of 2-3 people to deliver an oral presentation in order to critical discuss the chosen study in front of class.




Exam Board





October 2025, according to the scheduled timetable made available from the organizing secretary

Class schedule

The timetable for this course is available here: Portale EasyAcademy



Details about final exam will be explained during class. Assessment will be performed via a 1-to-1 discussion in English with the Lecturers about the main topics illustrated during class.Discussion will span through all main items/topics presented during the course. Different types of questions will be used, such as correlation questions.

There will be 7 exams per year: 3 during the winter session (January and February) and 4 during the summer session (3 in June-July and one in September). Extraordinary dates will NOT be arranged.

Online registration with at least 48h advance is mandatory to have access to the exam.

In the final mark computation, Lecturers will also take into consideration the journal club activity.



The exam aims to verify the students’ comprehension of stem cell potential in translational regenerative medicine, as well as their knowledge and ability of critical discussion.

Different additional types of questions, will also be used to evaluate the students’ competence relating to critical thinking. 

During the course, students will be also asked to critically discuss during the Journal Club activity some research articles related to the main topic illustrated during class by an oral presentation, as the result of their team work attitude with their colleagues. 


Registration for the exam is strictly limited to the on-line system. No students will be allowed to take the exam if not enrolled or if enrolled by any other means. If students experience troubles/inconveniences while enrolling, they are strongly encouraged to contact the on-line student service IN ADVANCE to the enrolment deadline.

Topics covered during lessons are summarized by the power-point presentations available on the course AulaWeb page. Additional material can be presented at the end of the front lesson and made available through AulaWeb 

For any further clarifications and/or explanation or any required information, students are strongly invited to contact the Lecturers - Prof. Bollini and Prof. Tasso-  in advance by email ( and or phone, to arrange specific appointments.