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BMS2014 : The Biology of Ageing

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Viktor Korolchuk
  • Lecturer: Professor John Mathers, Dr Antoneta Granic, Professor Raj Kalaria, Dr Daryl Shanley, Dr Annette Pantall, Dr Laura Maringele, Dr Gordon Strathdee, Professor Mary Herbert, Dr Elizabeta Mukaetova-Ladinska, Professor Thomas von Zglinicki, Dr Laura Greaves
  • Owning School: Biomedical, Nutritional and Sports Scien
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
  • Capacity limit: 85 student places

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


This module is designed to offer students an overview of the key biological mechanisms that effect ageing. It draws on evidence from the latest developments in a rapidly changing research base. It will also make reference to wider aspects of ageing in relation to society and medicine. The specific aims of the module are:

1. To consider why ageing occurs in almost all organisms and why ageing is particularly slow in humans
2. To consider the essential mechanisms of ageing
3. To explain the role of intrinsic and extrinsic stress in ageing
4. To consider aspects of ageing in health and disease

Outline Of Syllabus

The module covers the following subjects:

Understanding ageing including:
1. Current theories of ageing
2. Evolution and ageing
3. Epidemiology of ageing
4. Healthy ageing
5. Future of ageing

Molecular biology of ageing including:

1. The genetics of ageing
2. Oxidative stress
3. DNA repair and damage
4. Epigenetics
5. Protein homeostasis
6. Age-related molecular diseases

Cellular biology of ageing including:

1. Cell signalling
2. Cell biology of ageing: senescence and apoptosis
3. Mitochondria in health and disease

Organs and organisms including:

1. Use of model organisms in studies of ageing
2. Microbiome and ageing
3. Hormonal control and ageing
4. Nutrition and ageing
5. Reproductive ageing
6. Brain ageing
7. Modifiable factors in brain ageing
8. Biology of motor function and mobility
9. Biomarkers of ageing

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture271:0027:00In person
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion150:0050:00Poster preparations and PIE practice and revision for exams
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching11:301:30In person Poster Presentation
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops12:002:00In person Scientific paper interpretation workshop
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery31:003:00Sync online - Drop-in Q&A sessions for student queries related to the taught material
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1115:30115:30This includes reading and writing up lecture notes
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk11:001:00In person - Intro to module, in-course assessment, PIE assessment, full module in attendance
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will provide students with key information and guidance for additional reading.

Poster presentation and paper interpretation workshop develop interpersonal communication and team work skills, increase understanding of lecture material and primary literature by discussion with peers and teachers and help prepare students for final exam. Seminars will introduce students to the module teaching and assessment format.

Drop-in Q&A surgeries will allow students to discuss areas of the curriculum with lecturers to consolidate learning.

Private study will allow students wo extend and reinforce their knowledge and understanding through reading of text books, journal articles and use of other recommended resources (eg: online).

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Digital Examination602A28In person Inspera invigilated Quiz format exam (60 mins) (28%), max 60 questions & Written interpretation exercise (60 mins) (42%), short answers, (1000 words total). Part 1 Inspera, Part 2 Interpretation exercise. (Inspera to be open for the duration of the examination - 120 mins).
Written Examination602A42In person invigilated written interpretation exercise (60 mins) (42%), short answers, (1000 words total) & Inspera invigilated Quiz format exam (60 mins) (28%), max 60 questions & Part 1 Inspera, Part 2 Interpretation exercise. (Inspera to be open for the duration of the examination - 120 mins).
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Report2M15Guided interpretation of a primary research paper (max 1000 words) - completed and submitted during 2hr in person workshop
Poster2M15Poster presentation in groups (10 minutes) - in person. Team present poster summarising experimental data from a scientific research paper
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The MCQ section of the examination will assess the students' breadth of knowledge and understanding; the scientific paper interpretation section of the examination will assess the students' ability to use their knowledge and understanding of the topics to interpret data presented in a scientific research paper.

The poster enables the students to develop and demonstrate their presentation and writing skills and their ability to prepare and organise work independently and in groups. Presentations in particular help the students to develop their personal confidence. The report helps the students to develop their writing skills and encourage them to read. The feedback on the short report will help the students to further develop their writing skills and prepare for the scientific paper interpretation element of the examination.

Reading Lists