Lecture - 2018 Course Introduction

From Embryology


Welcome to ANAT2341 Embryology in 2019!

This lecture content of this course will provide students with a robust understanding of early human embryogenesis, and the anatomy and development of the major organs and organ systems of the body. Students will also acquire a basic understanding of how major birth abnormalities arise.

In the practical classes, students will actively apply the lecture content by completion of online modules, through modelling of embryonic development using playdough, by digital embryo dissections using online resources, by working with animal models of development in laboratory classes, and in a journal club. Furthermore, students will be exposed to cutting-edge developmental and stem cell biology research presented by experts in the field.

How the course relates to the Medical Sciences Program The embryology course is appropriate for a Medical Sciences pathway that includes anatomy, cell biology, histology, and pathology courses, and it prepares for an Honours project in a developmental biology, stem cell or cancer research lab.

Applications of Embryology in Future Careers The embryology course prepares graduates for a wide range of careers. Graduates can apply their knowledge of anatomy and developmental biology directly, such as by choosing a career in the biomedical sphere. Some of these include biomedical research scientist, science educator, policy advisor, IVF scientist and forensic scientist. Alternatively, graduates can use the general skills and knowledge acquired to pursue careers in other areas.

The course was redesigned following feedback from the 2018 cohort described here

2019 Course Outline PDF

Course Coordinator

The 2019 course coordinator is Dr Annemiek Beverdam.

Annemiek Beverdam profile photo.jpeg
Dr Annemiek Beverdam
Room 234, level 2, Wallace Wurth East
Research profile - email


There is a separate draft timetable page showing the current 2019 course. Final course content may vary from this draft timetable and direct links to course content are also available from the footer of each content page.

Links: ANAT2341 Course Timetable 2019 | 2019 Course Outline PDF

2 consecutive face-to-face lectures - Wednesday 9 - 11 am in Mathews Rm 227. Content from these lectures form part of the quiz assessment in the following week.

Practical Class - Wednesday 11 am -1 pm in Anatomy Labs, Biosciences Building D26, Level 1 (Weeks 4 and 7 in Wallace Wurth 120). Practical classes and collaborative learning sessions will help students to revise and consolidate lecture content, to develop their insights in developmental processes in 3D and 4D, and to assist them in their development of research and analytical skills. These classes will allow students to engage in a more interactive form of learning than is possible in the lectures. The skills students will learn in practical classes are relevant to their development as professional scientists.

The 2-hour practical classes will consist of various elements:

  • Each lab will start with a 10-minute quiz to assess knowledge of the previous week’s lecture and lab content (part of students’ ongoing individual assessment).
  • Each lab, we will take time to revisit the current week’s lecture content using questions asked in class, and posted on Sli.do and on Moodle.
  • We will further develop your insight in developmental processes in 3D and 4D using playdough activities, completing SmartSparrow modules and online, by performing virtual embryo dissections using the 3DEmbryo atlas, and by using the online Virtual Human Embryo resource and UNSW Virtual Slides.
  • In some of the labs, guest lecturers will present their developmental biology research on a topic relevant to preceding lecture content.
  • We will have two wet lab practical classes where students will dissect and investigate life chicken embryos, determine the developmental stages, and annotate the structures.

Please note that the course redesign process is ongoing and some online content links may reflect previous course lectures, practicals and assessments.


  1. Individual assessment: weekly quizzes 20%
  2. Group project assessment: stem cell journal club (week 10) 10%
  3. Mid-term exam (1-hour duration, week 5) 30%
  4. End of session examination (2 hours duration) 40%

Learning Resources


There are many different excellent embryology textbooks, the course textbooks are available at the UNSW bookstore. In addition, the UNSW Library provides online access for current students to embryology textbooks that are referenced and linked throughout the course lectures. Both textbooks have been recently updated to 2015 editions. Note you will need to enter your ZID and password to view these online resources.

As an introduction to the online texts, try the first chapter in Moore, Persaud, and Torchia - The Developing Human Introduction to the Developing Human

APA Citations

Moore, K.L., Persaud, T.V.N. & Torchia, M.G. (2015). The developing human: clinically oriented embryology (10th ed.). Philadelphia: Saunders.

Schoenwolf, G.C., Bleyl, S.B., Brauer, P.R., Francis-West, P.H. & Philippa H. (2015). Larsen's human embryology (5th ed.). New York; Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone.

The collapsible tables below are direct links to each textbook chapter.

The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology (10th edn) 
The Developing Human, 10th edn.jpg

UNSW Students have online access to the current 10th edn. through the UNSW Library subscription (with student Zpass log-in).

APA Citation: Moore, K.L., Persaud, T.V.N. & Torchia, M.G. (2015). The developing human: clinically oriented embryology (10th ed.). Philadelphia: Saunders.

Links: PermaLink | UNSW Embryology Textbooks | Embryology Textbooks | UNSW Library
  1. Introduction to the Developing Human
  2. First Week of Human Development
  3. Second Week of Human Development
  4. Third Week of Human Development
  5. Fourth to Eighth Weeks of Human Development
  6. Fetal Period
  7. Placenta and Fetal Membranes
  8. Body Cavities and Diaphragm
  9. Pharyngeal Apparatus, Face, and Neck
  10. Respiratory System
  11. Alimentary System
  12. Urogenital System
  13. Cardiovascular System
  14. Skeletal System
  15. Muscular System
  16. Development of Limbs
  17. Nervous System
  18. Development of Eyes and Ears
  19. Integumentary System
  20. Human Birth Defects
  21. Common Signaling Pathways Used During Development
  22. Appendix : Discussion of Clinically Oriented Problems
Larsen's Human Embryology (5th edn) 
Larsen's human embryology 5th ed.jpg
UNSW students have full access to this textbook edition through UNSW Library subscription (with student Zpass log-in).

APA Citation: Schoenwolf, G.C., Bleyl, S.B., Brauer, P.R., Francis-West, P.H. & Philippa H. (2015). Larsen's human embryology (5th ed.). New York; Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone.

Links: PermaLink | UNSW Embryology Textbooks | Embryology Textbooks | UNSW Library
  1. Gametogenesis, Fertilization, and First Week
  2. Second Week: Becoming Bilaminar and Fully Implanting
  3. Third Week: Becoming Trilaminar and Establishing Body Axes
  4. Fourth Week: Forming the Embryo
  5. Principles and Mechanisms of Morphogenesis and Dysmorphogenesis
  6. Fetal Development and the Fetus as Patient
  7. Development of the Skin and Its Derivatives
  8. Development of the Musculoskeletal System
  9. Development of the Central Nervous System
  10. Development of the Peripheral Nervous System
  11. Development of the Respiratory System and Body Cavities
  12. Development of the Heart
  13. Development of the Vasculature
  14. Development of the Gastrointestinal Tract
  15. Development of the Urinary System
  16. Development of the Reproductive System
  17. Development of the Pharyngeal Apparatus and Face
  18. Development of the Ears
  19. Development of the Eyes
  20. Development of the Limbs

3D Atlas of Human Embryology

The 3D Atlas of Human Embryology comprises 14 user-friendly and interactive 3D-PDFs of all organ systems in real human embryos between stage 7 and 23 (15 till 60 days of development), and additional stacks of digital images of the original histological sections and annotated digital label files. We recommend students to download all 14 PDFs, as we will be using these extensively in the practical classes.

The atlas was created by students and embryologists of the Department of Anatomy, Embryology & Physiology of the Academic Medical Center (AMC) in Amsterdam, the Netherlands and it is made freely available to the scientific community to facilitate veracious embryology education and research.

Click here to access the Science publication, here to learn more about the project, here to access the atlas content.

The Virtual Human Embryo

The Virtual Human Embryo Project (VHE) was originally developed as a collaboration between embryologist Dr. Raymond Gasser at Louisiana State University Health Science Center (LSUHSC) and the Human Developmental Anatomy Center (HDAC) in Washington D.C. The overall aim of the project is to make the Carnegie collection, which is housed at the HDAC, accessible for research and teaching of human embryology. Dr. John Cork at LSUHSC joined the project at its inception as the software developer with a special interest in 3D-reconstruction. The project has two components, both of which are supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health.

The Digitally Reproduced Embryonic Morphology (DREM) project is funded by National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHHD) to produce digital images of the serial sections from representative embryos in the Carnegie collection.

The HEIRLOOM Collection is funded by the National Library of Medicine to provide additional resources to make the DREM image databases more widely accessible.


This additional general resource linked below is a free 2016 iBook that can be downloaded and viewed on all Apple devices. It introduces to the student the general appearance and growth of the human embryo during the first 8 weeks of development. Including developmental descriptions, histology, MRI and EFIC embryo scans.

Ebook - Kyoto Collection (1st edn) 
Kyoto Embryo Collection - cover.jpg UNSW students can download this free iBook that describes embryos from the first 8 weeks of development showing whole embryos, histological features, movies and high resolution 3D scans. The iBook also contains a linked glossary with descriptions of embryology terminology, and related terms.

Note - Only available for the Apple iPhone, iPad and laptop and desktop computers. No PC version currently available.

APA Citation: Hill MA. Shiota K. Yamada S. and Ho C. Kyoto Embryology Collection. (2016) Apple iTunes. Retrieved from: https://itunes.apple.com/book/id1143922693

Links: iTunes link | Kyoto Collection | Embryology iBooks | UNSW Embryology Textbooks | Embryology Textbooks | UNSW Library
Links: Embryology Textbooks - UNSW | More Embryology Textbooks


Moodle icon2.jpg The Moodle course page below will be made available to students at the beginning of the current course.

2019 Embryology Moodle Page