Science at the heart of medicine

8006 Biology of Aging

COURSE DESCRIPTION:Why do we get old? Is aging a disease or a physiological stage in life? As the percentage of aging population grows, under what has been termed as “global aging”, the need to understand the peculiarities of the aging process increases and has become a priority for public health. The common goal of aging researchers is being able to extend the healthy active years of life. Research in Biology of Aging is in exponential expansion because this field has benefit in recent years from the advances in many other areas of research going from genetics to cell biology, biochemistry of proteins, systems biology, etc. Furthermore, classical studies of genetics of longevity in laboratory species are now escalating to humans, thus making possible a better understanding of both physiological aging and age-related diseases.

This course presents an in-depth analysis of the biology of aging, building up from changes occurring at the molecular and cellular level and analyzing the consequences at the organism level. In addition, the influence of these age-related changes in what are commonly considered a disease of aging, such as neurodegeneration, diabetes, etc., will also be discussed. Topics will include: theories of aging, experimental models used to study of aging and longevity, impact of oxidative stress in cell and organ function, the metabolic syndrome of aging, functional changes in the immune and central nervous systems, genetic instability and genetics of aging and longevity.

REQUIRED MATERIALS: Molecular and Cellular Biology of Aging (J. Vijg, J. Campisi, G. Lithgow) 2105, Published by the Gerontological Society of America (Text book available here: Link)

Other resourcers (selected chapters): The Encyclopedia of Aging (Schulz,R, Noelker LS, Rockwood K and Sprott R.), 2006*; Aging and age-related diseases: the basics (Karasek, M), 2006*; ISBN-10: 0826148433; ISBN-13: 9780826148438

PREREQUISITES: Undergraduate courses in Biochemistry, Cell Biology, Genetics and Statistics highly advisable. Students who have taken graduate Cell Biology and Genetics will be able to get the most out of this course.

STUDENT PREPARATION: Biochemistry, Cell Biology, Genetics and Statistics


UNIQUE TRAINING OFFERED IN THIS COURSE: The goal of this course is to motivate an interest among our graduates for problems in biology of aging and to prepare them for the growing demand for future generations of aging researchers.

STUDENT ASSESSMENTS: In class participation; Final exam (5-10 questions take-home test)