Evolutionary Medicine

Course content

Basic concepts in Evolutionary Medicine: The history and variation of human genes and their global spatial patterns; medically relevant genomic variation of human populations; genetic variation for alcoholism and lactose intolerance; genetic conflicts in pregnancy and childhood; MHC variation and immunity, spontaneous abortions and mate choice; pathogen (social) evolution and biofilms; development and dissimination of bacterial resistance to antibiotics; virulence evolution in general and in response to vaccines; population structure and genomic variation in bacteria and viruses; emerging diseases; non-infectious and degenerative disease, including the evolution of aging; lifestyle, diet and disease; cancer as an evolutionary process.

Education

MSc Programme in Biology
MSc Programme in Biochemistry
MSc Programme in Molecular Biomedicine

Learning outcome

To give students a thorough understanding of the issues in medical research and practice where evolutionary thought adds a demonstrably useful perspective. Students will gain a detailed perception of the ways in which natural selection, random events and history have shaped humans and their pathogens. The course will help students to integrate evolutionary and molecular approaches. Students completing the course will be able to:

  • explain important concepts and current hypotheses in evolutionary medicine
  • evaluate the impact of selection, drift and history on humans and pathogens
  • describe medically relevant genetic variation in humans and pathogens
  • explain the significance of reproductive conflicts between mother, father and child for medical issues in pregnancy
  • explain the evolution of antibiotic resistance and pathogen virulence
  • explain cancer and aging as evolutionary processes
  • independently retrieve and organize information from the scientific literature
  • present and discuss original scientific papers and reviews in evolutionary medicine.


Knowledge:

By completing the course the student will be able to understand and reflect on:

  • the history and variation of human genes and their global spatial patterns
  • medically relevant genomic variation of human populations
  • genetic variation for alcoholism and lactose intolerance
  • genetic conflicts in pregnancy and childhood
  • MHC variation and immunity, spontaneous abortions and mate choice
  • pathogen (social) evolution and biofilms
  • development and dissimination of bacterial resistance to antibiotics
  • virulence evolution in general and in response to vaccines
  • population structure and genomic variation in bacteria and viruses
  • emerging diseases; non-infectious and degenerative disease, including the evolution of aging
  • lifestyle, diet and disease; cancer as an evolutionary process.


Skills:

  • The course gives students a thorough understanding of the issues in medical research and practice where evolutionary thought adds a demonstrably useful perspective.
  • Students will gain a detailed perception of the ways in which natural selection, random events and history have shaped humans and their pathogens.
  • The course will help students to integrate evolutionary and molecular approaches.


Competences:

By completing the course the student can:

  • explain important concepts and current hypotheses in evolutionary medicine
  • evaluate the impact of selection, drift and history on humans and pathogens
  • describe medically relevant genetic variation in humans and pathogens
  • explain the significance of reproductive conflicts between mother, father and child for medical issues in pregnancy
  • explain the evolution of antibiotic resistance and pathogen virulence
  • explain cancer and aging as evolutionary processes
  • independently retrieve and organize information from the scientific literature
  • present and discuss original scientific papers and reviews in evolutionary medicine
  • present a coherent essay on a specific topic in this field of study

About nine hours of lectures/​seminars/​student presentations per week for the first seven weeks. Students can either do an individual presentation of original research papers during these first seven weeks or participate in group work to present an overview of one of the five themes in the final symposium at the end of week 7. All students must hand in a 2-page essay on the topic of their oral presentation before the end of week 7 to take the oral exam.

See Absalon.

ECTS
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 25 minutes
Individual oral examination with preparation. The first part of the exam is a discussion of a question handed out just before the oral exam. The second part consists of questions based on the material covered in the course compendium and lectures. The exam lasts for 25 minutes in total.
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Several internal examiners
Criteria for exam assessment

To achieve the grade 12 the student must give an excellent performance displaying a high level of command of all aspects of the relevant material, cf. the learning outcome of the course, with no or only a few minor weaknesses.

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Exam
  • 0,5
  • Preparation
  • 122,5
  • Lectures
  • 36
  • Colloquia
  • 27
  • Project work
  • 20
  • English
  • 206,0