SBMS0201 Current Topics in Medical Sciences

Course SBMS0201
Current Topics in Medical Sciences







Class Date Class A

16, 17, 18, 19, 22 and 23 July 2019

9:00am – 11:30am


Class B

15, 16, 17, 19, 22 and 23 July 2019

1:00pm – 3:30pm

(24 and 25 July 2019 are reserved for make-up class in case there is any cancellation of classes due to bad weather or other unexpected factors.)

Class Time Please see above.
Class Location Class A & Class B

MMW 702 | CUHK Map
(Mong Man Wai Building – MMW)

Dr. Rebecca KY LEE
School of Biomedical Sciences
Faculty of Medicine
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Medium of Instruction English
Course Description This course will cover some biomedical science topics that are of general interest or have demonstrated major advances in recent years.


Pre-Requisite Information: Students studying HKDSE Biology or Combined Sciences (Biology), UK GCSE/IGCSE Biology, or International Baccalaureate (IB) Biology

Topic 1: Infertility and Assisted Reproductive Technology

This lecture will provide a brief overview on the physiological control of gamete production in the female and the male. Students will then be introduced to the common causes of infertility and how, equipped with the basic understanding of the reproductive processes, assisted reproductive technology can be devised to help patients with infertility problems.

Topic 2: The Cryptic Messages Within the Genetic Code

Our understandings of genetic codes had been greatly expanded with the completion of the Human Genome Project and technological advancement in DNA sequencing. While the function of a substantial portion of the human genome is remained unclear, 80% of rare diseases are genetic basis, many of which are life threatening. In this lecture, we are going to study examples of the disease-causing cryptic messages. The roles of an emerging profession – Genetic Counselors in the healthcare team, and concerns about the use of genetic information will be discussed.

Topic 3: Viral Diseases

This lecture will provide a brief introduction to some common and well-known viruses, including SARS coronavirus, influenza viruses, hepatitis B virus and human immunodeficiency viruses. After attending this lecture, students will have a general understanding of the structure, diagnosis and treatment of these viruses.

Topic 4: Hormones and Behavior

This lecture will provide an overview of neuroendocrine organs in brain. The anatomy, physiology and disease of neuroendocrine organs (e.g. pineal, hypothalamus and pituitary) will be introduced. The interaction between hormones and human behavior will also be discussed.

Topic 5: Brain Functions and Disorders

This lecture will give an overview of brain functions and discuss some common brain disorders. Students will be introduced to the structural plan of the brain and the functions of different regions including motor control, sensory perception, special senses, consciousness, emotion, memory, and language. Moreover, brain disorders caused by brain injury, tumor, degeneration, and genetics, and the subsequent influence on normal brain functions will be discussed as well. With real and plastic brain models as both teaching and learning aids, students will definitely gain a better understanding of the brain.

Topic 6: Stem Cell

The development from a fertilized egg to a normal functioning human being is a miraculous process. During development, stem cells can differentiate into different types of cells in our body. In this lecture, the characteristics of stem cells and the methods for stem cell production will be introduced. Potential applications of stem cells for medical therapy and ethical issues on stem cell research will be discussed.

Learning Outcomes After completing this course, students will be able to:

  1. Describe the physiological control of male and female gamete production.
  2. Appreciate how the different types of assisted reproductive technology could be used to help patients with various causes of infertility.
  3. Recall the basis of genetic diseases, and suggest examples of fatal diseases caused by gene or chromosome abnormalities.
  4. Comment on the concerns about the use of genetic information.
  5. Describe the main features of pathogenic viruses and understand the pathogenesis and treatments of common viral diseases.
  6. Understand the human body systems and how they are essential to life.
  7. State the potential applications of stem cells for medical therapy.
  8. Critique the ethical issues related to stem cell research.
Recommended Reading(s) / Reference(s)
  1. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), UK: Fertility problems: assessment and treatment
  2. Susan Young Rojahn. 2013. Rewriting Life – Better Screening for Deadly Genetic Diseases. MIT Technology Review.
  3. Lauring AS, Frydman J, Andino R. 2013. The Role of Mutational Robustness in RNA Virus Evolution. 11(5): 327-336.
  4. Marieb EN and Hoehn K. 2007. Human Anatomy and Physiology. 7th Ed. San Francisco: Pearson Benjamin Cummings. P. 604-620.
  5. Provenzale JM. 2010. Imaging of Traumatic Brain Injury: A Review of the Recent Medical Literature. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 194(1): 16-19.
  6. Raichle ME. 2003. Functional Brain Imaging and Human Brain Function. J Neurosci. 23(10): 3959-3962.
  7. Puri MC, and Nagy A. 2012. Concise Review: Embryonic Stem Cells Versus Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells: The Game is On. Stem Cells. 30(1): 10-14.
Course Assessment Course work x 6 (90%)

[Note: Most of the course work will be conducted during class]

Attendance (10%)