Summer 2009

SCIE 634
Biology of Aging

Wolfe,Jason S.

06/29/2009 - 07/16/2009
Monday-Thursday 06:00 PM - 09:00 PM

"People in the U.S. are living longer than ever before. Many seniors live active and healthy lives. But there's no getting around one thing: as we age, our bodies and minds change" (from Medline, Seniors' Health). This course will consider four important questions: What are the changes to body and mind that take place during aging? What are the causes of the major diseases that afflict the elderly and what research avenues point to prospects for treatment? What research is being done to explore the underlying basis of the aging process? What are the prospects for intervention in the aging process, thereby extending lifespan? The goal is to combine aspects of the biology of aging together with a more personal, emotional and social consideration of what it means to grow old in America, at this time.

Each class meeting will be divided into two parts. One part will be a lecture providing a conceptual introduction to a specific topic. The second part will involve a student-led class discussion of a recent review article on the subject introduced by a lecture. One day (or more) is scheduled between the introduction, and the student presentation on that topic. This is to give students time to make use of the information introduced in lecture to provide increased comprehension while reading the review article, and it also allows us to build on a subject over a two day period of time.

We will discuss some of the major diseases affecting the elderly, such as Alzheimer's disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, and cardio-circulatory diseases. We will also look at emerging possibilities for reducing, and even (as a long term goal) eliminating aging; how that could be accomplished and what that might mean at an individual as well as a social level.

Readings will include selections from textbooks on aging, scientific articles, and current magazine and newspaper articles.

Evaluations will be based on two oral presentations as well as general class participation

Field trips to some of Middletown's organizations that work with the elderly may be possible.

Course tuition: $2022

A syllabus for this course is available at:
Course Syllabus

Jason Wolfe (B.A. Rutgers University; Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley) is professor of biology and primary or contributing author of 45 publications. His laboratory is involved in research on cell reproduction, cell interactions, and cell death. The team has been examining such topics as cell recognition and adhesion, as well as cell differentiation and morphogenesis, by studying sexual interaction in the single-celled organism, Tetrahymena thermophila. In recent years, the team has begun to exploit a novel developmental property of this cell-type to also study the regulation of nuclear death as it relates to the process of apoptosis, or programmed cell death, and autophagy, or self-digestion. Click here for more information about Jason Wolfe.


Consent of Instructor Required: No

Format: Seminar

Level: GLSP Credits: 3 Enrollment Limit: 18

Texts to purchase for this course:

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