Curriculum & Course Descriptions


BS4009 Biologyof Aging

Course Coordinator: Asst Prof Esther Wong (email: )

Academic Unit: 3 AU

Availability: Semester 1

Pre-requisite: BS2001, BS2004

Course Type: BS-Major-PE, BMS-Major-PE

Language of instruction: English

Teaching hours:  Lectures: 26 hours; Tutorials: 13 hours

Learning Objective

This course aims to introduce students to the different theories about aging and current understanding of the basic aging mechanisms in model organisms and in humans. Students will learn about the recent advances in aging research that underscore some of the interventional strategies aim at extending health- and life-span. Students will also gain a better understanding of physiological aging and age-related diseases. The ultimate goal of this course is to engage students with problems in biology of aging and to inspire them toward aging research to prepare for the rising demand of global aging on public health.


Aging is an integral part of everyone’s life. In a way, we are all “experts” in the aging process, having experience it firsthand ourselves. Despite so, the nature of the aging process remains a mystifying progression to many of us. This course aims to unravel the complexity of the aging process by providing a comprehensive study of the biology of aging. The weekly lecture will explore what happens as we age by looking at changes occurring at the most basic molecular level to alterations in the biological processes that contribute to cellular dysfunction and senescence and consequences of such failures at the organism level. The array of topics include different theories of aging, experimental models used to study aging and longevity, whether the ghost of aging is in our genes by looking at the genetic and epigenetic origins of aging, molecular blueprint of exceptional longevity, relationship between stress resistance and aging, alterations in metabolism and immunity with age, functional changes at the systems level and recent developments in translational research on enhancing health- and life-span.

Learning Outcome

At the end of the course, students will gain a holistic understanding of the aging process, from what is happening at the biochemical level to changes in genetic and physiological levels. Students will be equipped with knowledge on the different experimental models and approaches commonly adopted in aging studies and will be able to discuss each of their limitations and merits. Students will acquire the basic foundation in biology of aging that will help build confidence in those who are interested to further explore aging-related studies.

*Prerequisites for Incoming Exchange Students: Equivalent of Year 2 or Higher Biology or Biotechnology major