LSCI1004 Frontiers in Biological Sciences









Course Code LSCI1004  
Course Title Frontiers in Biological Sciences
Class Date 18, 19, 20, 21, 24 and 25 July 2023

(26 July 2023 is reserved for class make-up in case there is any cancellation of classes due to bad weather or other unexpected factors.)

Class Time 9:00am – 11:30am  


Class Location TBC
Teacher Dr. CHOW Cheung Ming Cherry


School of Life Science

The Chinese University of Hong Kong



More about School of Life Sciences, CUHK:

  1. School of Life Sciences, CUHK
  2. Cell and Molecular Biology Programme, CUHK
  3. Environmental Science Programme, CUHK


Medium of Instruction English
Pre-requisite Students studying in S.5 of the HKDSE curriculum (or equivalent) with background knowledge in Biology or Chemistry.
Course Description This course aims to take students to explore recent advances in life sciences and to appreciate their impacts in health and medical, environmental and industrial areas. The course will include a lecture series and two parallel workshops I) Molecular & Cellular Biology, or II) Biodiversity & Conservation. Each workshop has an enrollment quota. Students would be assigned to one of the workshops according to their preference and the available quota.


Workshop I) Molecular & Cellular Biology introduces students to basic laboratory techniques commonly used in life science research laboratories. Through hands-on training, the workshop will allow students to understand how fundamental discoveries in basic science and innovations in experimental methodologies advance life science research.


Workshop II) Biodiversity & Evolution introduces students to animal and plant diversity. The workshop will include: 1) animal diversity and evolution, in-particular the comparative anatomy and function of different animal groups will be illustrated with preserved and live specimens; 2) plant diversity and floral structure, with a hands-on session on floral dissection.

Course Content This course presents the recent breakthrough and advancements in biological sciences. The lectures are on a range of topics, covering biochemistry, biotechnology, cell biology, development biology, evolution and molecular biology. Contents will vary from year to year.


Examples of activities in the Molecular & Cellular Biology workshop include bacterial transformation, mapping DNA using restriction enzymes and fluorescence microscopy of cultured mammalian cells in the laboratory.


Examples of activities in Biodiversity & Conservation workshop include display of live and preserved specimens and discussions on their biological interests and adaptations, in-particular the comparative structure and functions of vertebrate limb evolution will be illustrated with relevant examples. Students will also be guided to observe different types and structures of flowers, and to discuss the corresponding pollination strategies. A Hands-on practical session on floral dissection will also be included.

Learning Outcomes Students are expected to understand the basic concepts and recent development in various life science disciplines, and to appreciate their contribution that revolutionizes our daily life.


For students who take workshop I, they are expected to

  1. Build up practical skills in molecular and cell biology commonly used to solve problems in life science disciplines; and
  2. Develop a proper attitude towards science that values curiosity, creativity and innovation through discussions and hands-on training.


For students who take workshop II, they are expected to

  1. Understand the diversity and adaptive features of various groups of animals, concept of selection and evolution, the interdependence of structure and function in animal evolution, in-particular the concept of homologous and analogous structures will be illustrated with examples on the evolution of limbs in vertebrates;
  2. Appreciate the diversity and “wisdom” of flowering plants;
  3. Understand the basic approach to observe different types and structures of flowers, and evaluate the adaptive values of floral features in regard with the pollination strategies; and
  4. Learn and practise how to dissect a flower and present their observations in the form of floral diagrams.
Recommended Reading(s) / Reference(s) Lecture handout for each of the topics will be provided. Additional reading materials will also be provided by individual teachers.
Course Assessment Towards the end of the course, students are required to complete a written test on the lecture series and the selected workshop. (100%)
  Last updated on 27 February 2023