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CHS8008 : Biology of Ageing (E-learning)

  • Offered for Year: 2021/22
  • Module Leader(s): Mrs Alison Clapp
  • Lecturer: Dr Daryl Shanley
  • Owning School: FMS Graduate School
  • Teaching Location: Off Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


1. To provide a framework to understand why ageing occurs in almost all organisms and why ageing is particularly slow in humans
2. To present details of the essential mechanisms of ageing as a basis to understand how organisms age
3. To inform students on the role of intrinsic and extrinsic stress in ageing
4. To provide a critical platform to judge the efficacy of potential interventions
5. To apply the mechanisms of ageing to the physiological processes in humans and other animals
6. To present details of the development of theories in ageing research
7. To inform students of the current and likely future trends in ageing research

Outline Of Syllabus

This module will cover:

1. Longevity, ageing and the life cycle including the evolutionary theories of ageing
2. Mechanisms of stress and ageing: damage to protein, lipid and DNA molecules; the associated maintenance and repair systems; and the consequences of the accumulation of un-repaired molecular damage.
3. Protein homeostasis
4. Maintenance of telomeres including telomerase; apoptosis and cellular senescence; the role of mitochondria and oxidative stress
5. Use of cell and animal model systems for ageing research
6. The mechanisms of ageing in stem cells
7. Ageing of hormonal systems
8. Ageing of extra cellular matrix
9. Molecular nutrition and its’ role in ageing
10. Female reproductive ageing
11. The role of oxidative stress in ageing
12. The future of ageing research including genetics and the use of systems biology

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion230:0060:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading125:0060:00Online content
Guided Independent StudySkills practice13:003:00Software use
Guided Independent StudyReflective learning activity121:0012:00eJournal / Blog
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity42:008:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study113:0033:00Supplemental reading
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesScheduled on-line contact time61:006:00Synchronous webinar
Guided Independent StudyOnline Discussion92:0018:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The module will be delivered by e-learning via Canvas VLE. The curriculum will be delivered through a series of guided learning opportunities including e-based lectures and discussion boards. Students will be asked to prepare paperwork for formative and summative assessment and will submit their work for assessment via Canvas VLE. The work for summative assessment will use the knowledge acquired, their individual feedback, notes and other sources. After submission, feedback will be given to the students electronically. The course material will provide students with current specialist knowledge from experts in the field of gerontological biology.
Critical appraisal, data interpretation and other scientific communication skills will be practised in on-line individual activities. Discussion board interaction will encourage the students to reflect on their learning. All these activities relate directly to the learning outcomes above.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M50Essay 2000 words
Oral Examination1M50Submission of recorded presentations: Scientific (10 mins), Lay (5 mins)
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Written exercise1MJournal reflecting on course as feed forward to essay
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The formative journal encourages reflection on the course content and literature, with feedforward to the essay which develops practical application of knowledge as well as research skills.
Presentation develops research and critical thinking skills, ability to present to different types of audiences as well as application of knowledge and understanding and conference review skills.

Reading Lists