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Stem Cells and the Biology of Aging and Disease

3rd term
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
3 credits
Academic Year:
2021 - 2022
Instruction Method:
Class Times:
  • M W,  10:30 - 11:50am
Auditors Allowed:
Yes, with instructor consent
Grading Restriction:
Letter Grade or Pass/Fail
Course Instructors:
Barry Zirkin

Introduction to Online Learning is required prior to participating in any of the School's Internet-based courses. Course in biochemistry, molecular biology, or cell biology at undergraduate or graduate level.


Exposes students to cutting-edge topics in stem cell biology through a combination of lectures and discussions based on primary literature. Topics include basic stem cell biology in a invertebrate and vertebrate systems, including germline, neural, and Leydig stem cells; the regulation of stem cells by physiology and aging; the connection between stem cells, telomerase, and cancer; and ethical issues pertaining to potential therapeutic applications of stem cells.

Learning Objectives:

Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

  1. Explain some of the basic cellular and molecular mechanisms that ensure self-renewal of stem cells
  2. Compare and contrast the regulation and function of stem cells in different systems
  3. Explain how physiology and aging impacts stem cell behavior and function
  4. Discuss how telomerase function is relevant to stem cells and cancers
  5. Raise some of the ethical issues in stem cell research and its therapeutic applications.
Methods of Assessment:

This course is evaluated as follows:

  • 45% Midterm
  • 45% Final Exam
  • 10% Participation

Instructor Consent:

No consent required

Special Comments:

This is an online version of an existing course. The same individuals who teach onsite are teaching online.