Biology of Aging (BIO 446)

2023 Spring
Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences
Alex Lyakhovich,
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Formal lecture,Interactive lecture,Workshop,Group tutorial,Other
Interactive,Communicative,Discussion based learning,Task based learning,Guided discovery,Simulation,Other
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The course intends to provide an up-to- date overview of the field of aging and gerontology. While all of us intuitively know what the aging is, many basic questions about aging are mysterious. Is aging itself a disease, and can we successfully intervene in the aging process? Or is it a program that one can hack? The course will start with a discussion of aging systems both from the view of biologist but also from the point of view of a system engenderer. We will explore the scientific discoveries made from studies of model organisms, which have led to revelations about the molecular biology of aging. We will look at aging at different angles – from population genetics to the “reliability theory”. The second part of the course will describe methods for studying aging, descriptions of population aging, and theories on how and why we age. We are going to understand why older people more likely to experience neurodegenerative disorders, stroke, and cancer and what kind of changes happen at the molecular and cellular levels that are associated with these diseases. The third part of the course provides an in depth discussion of the processes of aging in various body systems. In combination with this we will discuss some medical treatments that can extend the lifespan of organisms as diverse as yeast and primates, and the implications for successfully intervening in age-related diseases. Finally students will explore biological changes that occur with aging at the molecular and organismal levels and how they can be viewed from the perspectives of various disciplines.


The course intends to provide an up-to-date overview of the biology of aging, one of
the fastest growing scientific disciplines of the 21st century, located at the intersection of
biology, mathematics, computer science and medicine. Students who complete this course (ı) will gain knowledge regarding developmental changes as they occur during the aging process; (ıı) will be able to evaluate current issues related to the aging process; (ııı) will be able to apply the above knowledge in their chosen areas of professional development.


  • Demonstrate knowledge of the aging process from both the human perspective and from the basic processes underlying molecular and organismal aging.
  • Be familiar with the major theories of aging and their development over the past decade.
  • Demonstrate data skills related to the analysis of life expectancy and age-related data sets.
  • Be able to explain several mechanisms of aging using published data and acquired skills.
  • Interpret and retrieve information about aging models and various ways to intervene in aging processes.
  • Be able to provide feedback and critique to classmates presenting published studies in the field.
  • Be able to analyze and evaluate data and make appropriate suggestions for improving other data.
  • Demonstrate written and oral communication skills.


1. Understand the world, their country, their society, as well as themselves and have awareness of ethical problems, social rights, values and responsibility to the self and to others. 5

2. Understand different disciplines from natural and social sciences to mathematics and art, and develop interdisciplinary approaches in thinking and practice. 4

3. Think critically, follow innovations and developments in science and technology, demonstrate personal and organizational entrepreneurship and engage in life-long learning in various subjects; have the ability to continue to educate him/herself. 5

4. Communicate effectively in Turkish and English by oral, written, graphical and technological means. 4

5. Take individual and team responsibility, function effectively and respectively as an individual and a member or a leader of a team; and have the skills to work effectively in multi-disciplinary teams. 4

1. Possess sufficient knowledge of mathematics, science and program-specific engineering topics; use theoretical and applied knowledge of these areas in complex engineering problems. 2

2. Identify, define, formulate and solve complex engineering problems; choose and apply suitable analysis and modeling methods for this purpose. 2

3. Develop, choose and use modern techniques and tools that are needed for analysis and solution of complex problems faced in engineering applications; possess knowledge of standards used in engineering applications; use information technologies effectively. 1

4. Have the ability to design a complex system, process, instrument or a product under realistic constraints and conditions, with the goal of fulfilling specified needs; apply modern design techniques for this purpose. 1

5. Design and conduct experiments, collect data, analyze and interpret the results to investigate complex engineering problems or program-specific research areas. 1

6. Possess knowledge of business practices such as project management, risk management and change management; awareness on innovation; knowledge of sustainable development. 1

7. Possess knowledge of impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, health and societal context; knowledge of contemporary issues; awareness on legal outcomes of engineering solutions; knowledge of behavior according to ethical principles, understanding of professional and ethical responsibility. 2

8. Have the ability to write effective reports and comprehend written reports, prepare design and production reports, make effective presentations, and give and receive clear and intelligible instructions. 1

1. Comprehend key concepts in biology and physiology, with emphasis on molecular genetics, biochemistry and molecular and cell biology as well as advanced mathematics and statistics. 5

2. Develop conceptual background for interfacing of biology with engineering for a professional awareness of contemporary biological research questions and the experimental and theoretical methods used to address them. 5

1. Use mathematics (including derivative and integral calculations, probability and statistics, differential equations, linear algebra, complex variables and discrete mathematics), basic sciences, computer and programming, and electronics engineering knowledge to (a) Design and analyze complex electronic circuits, instruments, software and electronics systems with hardware/software or (b) Design and analyze communication networks and systems, signal processing algorithms or software 1

1. Applying fundamental and advanced knowledge of natural sciences as well as engineering principles to develop and design new materials and establish the relation between internal structure and physical properties using experimental, computational and theoretical tools. 1

2. Merging the existing knowledge on physical properties, design limits and fabrication methods in materials selection for a particular application or to resolve material performance related problems. 1

3. Predicting and understanding the behavior of a material under use in a specific environment knowing the internal structure or vice versa. 1


  Percentage (%)
Final 40
Midterm 30
Quiz 30



9780128162835 (we have 6th Edition in SU information unit, also OK)
Biology of Aging, 2nd Edition, Roger B. McDonald ISBN 9780815345671
Fortunately, or unfortunately, no good textbooks on aging have yet been written.
Therefore, the above handbooks supplement rather than replace the lectures.


All materials for home reading will be provided.

Optional Readings

Short videos will be attached to each lecture for your home watching.
Optional reading can be found at the very end of the lecture slides.