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Vitality and Ageing


Admission requirements

For participating in a Half Minor, students are advised to have obtained 60 ECTS from the first year.

International Students should have an adequate background in Medicine. Admission will be considered based on CV and motivation letter.
For more information, please contact


Ageing is the most important challenge of our society. Research should therefore be more focussed on the older individual and their medical care. Before that, lots of questions needs to be addressed: How do we age, how do we stay vital? How should we treat older individuals, are those decisions driven by evidence based medicine? Within this half minor, we will discuss these aspects of vitality and ageing with international experts and within interactive working groups.
Ageing can be described as “a progressive, generalized impairment of function, resulting in an increasing vulnerability to environmental challenge and a growing risk of disease and death”. Although the pathologies that accompany ageing are diverse and the rate at which it occurs differs widely between species, the universality of the ageing process suggests that common biological mechanisms may be at play. Many of the prevailing proximate theories of ageing center on the hypothesis that the rate of ageing is determined by an intricate balance between damage accumulation and defense and repair mechanisms. From this hypothesis, it follows that analysis of the mechanisms by which this balance is regulated may reveal the regulatory axes of the ageing process and allow the development of anti-ageing therapeutics.
This half minor focusses around three major biological ageing themes, namely “Damage and repair and ageing”, “Neuro-endocrine regulation of lifespan” and “Modulation of lifespan”. This course will focus as well on the biological aspects of vitality and healthy ageing. Attention will be paid to repair mechanisms, nutrition, longevity and maintenance of bodily functions and independence. Next to the extensive learning in biological mechanisms, we would also address how is it to become older with help of personal experience and discussions with elderly persons, personal vitality, and training in academic skills, for example communication, giving and receiving feedback, creative thinking, team roles, writing and presenting.

Course objectives

The student

  • explains how repair and cellular defense mechanisms that evolved to protect the organism against genomic instability and cancer are related to the ageing process.

  • explains how neuro-endocrine mechanisms that evolved to facilitate adaptation of the organism to its changing environment are related to the ageing process.

  • understands the potential for therapeutic interventions to modulate the rate of ageing and vitality.

  • is able to place future research in the perspective of ageing and vitality.

  • is able to work together in a professional way and is able to mobilize complementary skills in teams while reflecting on and continuing to develop these teams skills.

  • can explain the demography of ageing

  • will learn about the genre of scientific writing through exploring texts and writing a scientific essay

  • is able to critically appraise the scientific literature with help of necessary tools


All course and group schedules are published on our LUMC scheduling website or on the LUMC scheduling app.

Mode of instruction

Lectures, workgroups, practicals, study assignments, self-study.

Assessment method

  • Multiple short assignments (pass/fail)

  • 2 Oral presentations (each 10% of final grade)

  • Written Exam (40% of final grade)

  • Final report (40% of final grade)

The exam dates can be found on the schedule website.

Reading list

For this course no study books are required.



Ms. dr. Stella Strompet & Prof. dr. Jacobijn Gussekloo
Interne Geneeskunde


For more information about this minor, please watch this video