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Evolutionary Medicine and Human Ageing


Admission requirements

It is recommended that students have followed the bachelor BW course “Mechanisms of Ageing and Development”.


Period: This course will not be taught in 2010-11, but in 2011-2012. The description below is indicative for the course contents but may be updated by May/June 2011.

This course consists of three weeks.
Week 1: theory
During the first week, the students will get acquainted with the current state of the art in aging research and with three of the different disciplines that address the issue of how to increase healthy longevity from their specific angle and expertise.

  • fundamental research using model systems

  • fundamental research using humans

  • applied research using humans
    Based on up-to-date scientific literature and keynote lectures by experts in their field, each group of three students will formulate a specific key research question.

Week 2: Experimental approach
During the second week, within each group of three students, each student will become a representative of one of the three different disciplines, and will individually formulate an approach on how of address their research question based on the tools and methodology available for the specific discipline and perform a pilot experiment using (some of) these for relevant data-analysis. In the second week, the students will follow short mini-stages in ongoing PhD projects on specific methodology (including micro-array analyses, survival analyses) and use these for relevant data-analysis.

Week 3: Cross-fertilization
During the third week, within each group of three students, the three students will communicate their approaches and results and integrate these into a short research report.


Research competences:
Definition of research question, formulation of an experimental approach based on the tools and methodology available for a specific discipline, performance of a pilot experiment, analysis of data, interpretation of the results, integration of the formulated approach and obtained results with those of other disciplines.

Professional competences:
Collaborating in a multi-disciplinary team: mutual respect, digesting other people’s opinions, taking individual responsibility for a specific aspect of research, communication of results, integration of results and ideas.

Course objectives

The student will achieve a good understanding of:

  • the current state of aging research and its multidisciplinary nature

  • how to translate complex issues raised in the scientific literature on aging into specific research questions

  • how to address specific research questions based on the tools and methodology available for a specific discipline and to perform a pilot experiment using these techniques

  • how to communicate their approach and results and integrate these with those of other disciplines into a short research report

Mode of instruction

Lectures, group work, self study assignments, mini-stages.

Assessment method

Research proposal/question, active participation, final report.