Developmental Biology

a worm


Members of the Developmental Biology division coordinate several courses at the Bachelor and Master levels. Bachelor courses are within the Biology and the Biomedical Sciences curriculum. Master courses are for the Molecular Life Sciences and Cancer, Stem cells & Developmental Biology (CS&D) programmes. Our expertise is on the processes that take place on a cellular and molecular level during the development of an organism. These processes are studied within an organism. Besides normal development, we also teach how diseases can occur when cellular processes are disturbed.

Members of  Developmental Biology are also involved in a number of other courses, such as Molecular Biology (Biology, level 1), Signal Transduction (BMW, level 3), Developmental Biology of Animals (EZO30306, Wageningen University), ‘Onderzoeksmethoden’ or Research Methods (BMW, level 2).

Bachelor thesis and research project


Students of the Biology and MLS bachelor programmes are welcome to perform their BSc thesis & research project in the Developmental Biology department. It is necessary however that you have participated in our level 3 course 'Developmental Biology and Genetics' (B-B3OBG05). The research projects in our department are organized in period 4. In small groups of students, you will perform experiments supervised by one or more of the researchers of our groups.

Individually, you will write a short report on your research project, and of course your thesis itself. The topics of the research project and thesis are determined together with your supervisor, and do not necessarily have to be the same topic (after all, there are many more topics within the field of Developmental Biology than we can offer in the lab).

If you would like to do your BSc research project and thesis in our group, please contact Mike Boxem, , with the following information:

  • Name and student number.
  • The name of the study your are enrolled in (Biology/MLS).
  • The studypaths you follow, and the N2 and N3 courses relevant to your research project

After you application we will let you know if you qualify and if there is space. At the end of period 3 we will contact you with further details of the program.

Developmental Biology, Bachelor level 2


The course addresses the development of the animal organism, and pays attention to genetic, hormonal, and environmental variables that influence the proliferation and differentiation of cells. Key words are: cleavages, gastrulation, neurulation, formation of axes, Hox-genes, cell differentiation, sex determination and differentiation,  organogenesis, evolution and development, recombinant/knock-out/transgenic animals, teratology.

Based on the book "Principles of development" by Wolpert ,Tickle, and Martinez Arias,  5th edition.

The Biology course is in period 1; an equivalent course for Biomedical Sciences students is in period 4.

For information: phone: 030-253 3971


Developmental Biology and Genetics, Bachelor level 3


In this course developmental processes are analyzed at different levels: molecular, cellular, as well as organismal. Complex scientific problems are studied, and translated into experiments, using C. elegans or zebrafish. Primary literature is used throughout and used to make a presentation at the end of the course.

The Biology course is in Period 3, time slot BC.

For information: .


Gene therapy, cancer, AIDS. Bachelor level 2


This interdisciplinary course has been done by students of various backgrounds. The course discusses the principles and applications of gene therapy, the mechanisms behind the origin of cancer, and in the second part of the course, the origin of HIV, HIV replication and the effect of n HIV infection on immunity and health is discussed.

For information: phone: 030-253 3971


Endocrinology, Bachelor level 3


In this course you will learn the principles of the integrative regulation of vertebrate life processes by hormones.

For information: .


Evolutionary Developmental Biology, Bachelor level 3


This course brings developmental biology into an evolutionary context and clarifies how developmental processes guide evolution (evo-devo). The knowledge from this field contributes to answering questions about the history of life, our place in the world, the evolution of body plans and the effects of the environment on embryonic development and human health. Lectures will be followed by analysis and discussion of recent primary literature, the concepts behind scientific theory progress will be explored, and students can train their scientific debating skills.

For information: .


Developmental Genetics, Master and Ph.D. level

This bi-annual course aims to provide an understanding of basic concepts of developmental biology and genetic analysis. In addition, the course teaches a variety of skills that are important for every researcher, including critical reading. The course is based on articles and seminars in developmental genetics, covering several genetic model systems. We will discuss recent papers of seminar speakers as a group and subsequently with the speaker.

Outline: Introduction by staff, literature self study, group discussions, seminars by expert speakers followed by discussion with the speakers and writing seminar abstracts.

For information: .


Research Project and Research Project Plus, Bachelor level 3, Biomedical Sciences

This 15 ECTS Biomedical Sciences course can be done in every period of the year. In the Research Project, a literature study as well as a practical study are done under supervision. The student determines in which group he/she wants to do this final part of the Bachelor, and approaches a supervisor of a group. Of the 10 weeks total, the practical part can be either 2 weeks (Research Project), or 7 weeks (Research Project Plus). The final product is an essay, containing the literature and the practical research done.

For information: phone: 030-253 3971


Master thesis

The thesis encompasses a literature study and can be done in each period of the year.

For information: phone: 030-253 3971


The Developmental Biology Studypath

'Developmental Biology' is also one of the studypaths of the Biology Bachelor curriculum. This studypath consists of the following 8 courses: The Cell, Genetherapy Cancer and Aids, Metabolism, Molecular and Genetic Research Techniques, Developmental Biology, Endocrinology, Genome Biology, and Developmental Biology and Genetics.