Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2013-2014 (archived)

Module BIOL3501: Ageing

Department: Biological and Biomedical Sciences

BIOL3501: Ageing

Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2013/14 Module Cap None. Location Durham


  • Cell Structure & Function AND Molecular Biology.


  • At least one other Level 3 Biology module.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To explain the evolutionary basis of ageing.
  • To explain ageing at a molecular level.
  • To explain ageing at the level of organ systems.
  • To explain the genetics of ageing.


  • Mathematical modelling approaches to ageing.
  • Oxidative stress pathways and their impacts of protein, DNA and cellular function.
  • Ageing in key organ systems including: brain, central nervous system, eye, joints, colon and skin.
  • Genetic predisposition to ageing including: segmental progeria and unmodal progeria.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • To explain how reproductive scheduling determines longevity.
  • Describe what a longevity outlier is.
  • Explain how oxidative stress affects, protein folding, accumulation of DNA damage and cellular senescence.
  • Describe ageing in key organ systems and their impacts of health and quality of life.
  • Account for genetic predisposition to premature ageing.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Students will learn to integrate genetic, physiological and biochemical information.
  • Students will learn to analyse data from original papers.
  • Students will learn to appreciate subject specific information in relation to real issues in society.
Key Skills:
  • Students will learn to communicate ideas in the form of posters.
  • Students will learn to summarise complex ideas for a lay audience.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Lectures, Workshops, Unseen exam and Data handling.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 38 Weekly 1 hour 38
Preparation & reading 162
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Examination Component Weighting: 80%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Unseen formal examination 3 hours 100%
Component: Continuous Assessment Component Weighting: 20%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Data handling 100%

Formative Assessment:


Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University