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Biological mechanisms of ageing and development


GERO.01 Biological mechanisms of ageing and development

Coordinator: Dr. D. van Heemst

This course will focus on why and how we age. Students will not only obtain a thorough understanding of biological mechanisms of ageing and development, but will also learn various fundamental evolutionary theories of ageing and will be able translate these theories into genetic mechanisms and the type of genes that underlie them. Students will become acknowledged with the disposable soma theory of Professor Kirkwood, which has largely contributed to the understanding of ageing.
In addition, the students will become familiar with the ‘free radical theory of ageing’ i.e. the various free radicals, their formation and in vivo sources of formation with special emphasis on the mitochondria. Also, the anti-oxidant protection mechanism and repair processes that play a role in the defence against free radical damage will be discussed. After the course the students will be able to describe the various repair mechanisms and can argue that the balance of damage and repair determines the rate of ageing.

An understanding of the biological determinants and consequences of the ageing process

Teaching format:
Lectures, Working groups, Self-study assignments

Writing a grant proposal

Learning outcome:
Acquisition of a thorough understanding of current concepts of Gerontology and to which extent it will change the future medical care. This course will specifically focus on the biological mechanisms that underlie the process of ageing. Students will acquire the capability of writing a grant proposal.