This page was last updated on 22/09/2015.
This course is based on the biology of reproduction from the standpoints of anatomy, biochemistry, and physiology. Here you will meet concepts ranging from the stark and cruel realities of infertility, the popcorn hypothesis of follicular maturation, as well as the evolution of menopause. Learning about the disorders of reproduction, molecular methods to detect problems, and technological advances to manage contraception and fertility, all give a unique flavour of what it is like to be a clinician in this field. Further to this, there is a field trip to AgResearch in Hamilton to assist your learning for a particular assignment. (In 2015 we stopped by Candy Land because why not?) Although there are rumours suggesting that this is an easy A+ course, we would suggest reconsideration of your decision. Although the course is exciting and there are only two lectures a week, essays in the exam require you to know everything that is mentioned in the lectures and more. Lab reports are not marked leniently and extra readings are recommended. Yes, it is expected that you do extra readings to do really well. (However, some would argue that going into these efforts was unnecessary). As a bonus there was a prize of $500 for the top in the class in 2015.
The first test covers 8 lectures in the form of Short Answer Questions. These 8 lectures are covered over a period of 5 weeks so it is quite manageable. Lecture slides are printed out in the course guide so it is very handy to make notes on these. The final exam includes MCQs and 4 essays (from a choice of 6 essays). On top of 3 lab reports, there is a mini review assignment based on stem cells as covered in the field trip.
In this course you have to do 3 lab reports. They are fairly straightforward but you are not given much formal guidance in terms of what you should write in your lab reports as compared to Stage II papers. That being said, Lynsey and Jo both point you in the right direction in the labs. It is worth noting that reports are not a piece of cake. Although they don't take too much time, they are marked pretty harshly so our advice would be to approach them with care and get as much help from lecturers/demonstrators as possible in terms of presentation.
Dr Lynsey Cree
In 2015, Dr Lynsey Cree lectured on the molecular methods in reproduction and sexual reproduction of the fetus. The topic of molecular methods is exciting for some but dull for others as it is does not seem very relevant to the physiology of reproductive biology. Dr Lynsey is a very straightforward lecturer who likes to give out hints for exam questions. In our cohort a lot of students complained about the harsh marking in her essay question for the test. Going through her lecture recording could be beneficial, as well as reading a few pages of the textbook to answer her question on the sexual differentiation of the fetus. She will generally tell you what she expects if her essay was to come up in the exam. You should expect ~1 question from these two lectures in the exam.
Professor Andrew Shelling
Professor Shelling is one of the most passionate lecturers in the department. Over 7 lectures, he will cover steroid hormone pathways, the structure and function of the ovaries, reproductive disorders, puberty and menopause. There is a lot of content to be learned but it is relatively simple – facts, symptoms, names, etc. To do well in his section, he suggests, not only should you parrot everything he has mentioned, but also show off extra relevant knowledge learned from journal articles, newspaper, or YouTube videos. Generally, Andrew will ask either on puberty or menopause in the exam. But you could expect another question from the rest of his lectures.
Professor Larry Chamley
As you would probably know, Larry has a great sense of humour. This makes it relatively easy and fun to go through the journey of the male reproductive system, assisted reproductive technologies, and contraceptives. At times lectures seem to go off on great tangents but don't let that catch you off guard - still do pay attention! You should expect ~1-2 essays from these lectures in the exam. Don’t forget that Larry still loves testing on his ‘numbers’!
Dr Joanna James
The physiology of pregnancy and implantation is exciting! There is a lot of information, but it is physiology! There is some overlap with Medsci 311 in this section; this is good because you can show off your extra knowledge without putting in too much effort. Dr James also covers a lecture on immunoassays, which is an extension to the methods in reproduction lecture covered by Dr Lynsey Cree. Extra readings from her suggested list could be beneficial for essays.