SBMS0201 Current Topics in Medical Sciences









Course Code SBMS0201(A)/SBMS0201(B)  
Course Title Current Topics in Medical Sciences
Class Date 16, 17, 18, 19, 22 and 23 July 2024

(24 July 2024 is reserved for class make-up in case there is any cancellation of classes due to bad weather or other unexpected factors.)

(25 July 2024 is reserved for class assessment.)

Class Time Session A: 9:00am – 11:30am

Session B: 1:00pm – 3:30pm

(Students will enroll in one session only, if applicable.)

Class Location TBC
 Teacher Dr. Poon Hong Kit Sam

Senior Lecturer

School of Biomedical Sciences

Choh-Ming Li Basic Medical Sciences Building

The Chinese University of Hong Kong


More about Faculty of Medicine, CUHK

1.       CUHK Medicine



Medium of Instruction English
Pre-requisite Students studying HKDSE Biology or Combined Sciences (Biology), UK GCSE/IGCSE Biology, or International Baccalaureate (IB) Biology
Course Description This module will cover some biomedical science topics that are of general interest or have demonstrated major advances in recent years.
Course Content 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: Know Drugs – Know Health

Pharmacology is the scientific field that studies how medicines affect biological systems and how the body reacts to medicines. Pharmacological studies are fundamental to improving already existing medicines and designing new drugs. This lecture will introduce students to some basic concepts in clinical pharmacology and provide a basic overview of drug discovery, from bench side to bedside. It will also provide insights regarding the translation of this knowledge into professional opportunities in drug research and development, academia, clinical practice and pharmaceutical industry.


Topic 3: Hormones and Behavior

This lecture will provide an overview of neuroendocrine organs in brain. The anatomy, physiology and diseases of neuroendocrine organs (e.g. pineal, hypothalamus and pituitary) will be introduced. The hormonal effects on our behavior will also be discussed.


Topic 4: 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 5: Viral Diseases

This lecture will provide a brief introduction to some common and well-known pathogenic 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, dissemination and treatment of these viruses.


Topic 6: Stem Cells

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. Understand drug discovery and various phases of research.
  4. Gather understanding of mechanism of action of drugs & basic principles of pharmacology.
  5. Understand the human body systems and how they are essential to life.
  6. Describe the main features of pathogenic viruses and understand the pathogenesis and treatments of common viral diseases.
  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. O’reilly, Munakata, Hazy, Frank. Principles of Pharmacology: Department of Education Open Textbook Pilot Project, the UC Davis Office of the Provost, the UC Davis Library, the California State University Affordable Learning Solutions Program, and Merlot.
  1. Majewski H. An introduction to Pharmacology: UNESCO EOLSS.
  1. Hughes I. Employment and employability for pharmacology graduates. Nat. Rev. Drug Dis. 2002; 1:833.
  2. Marieb EN and Hoehn K. 2019. Human Anatomy and Physiology. 11th Ed. San Francisco: Pearson Benjamin Cummings. P. 390-637.
  3. Provenzale JM. 2010. Imaging of Traumatic Brain Injury: A Review of the Recent Medical Literature. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 194(1): 16-19.
  4. Raichle ME. 2003. Functional Brain Imaging and Human Brain Function. J Neurosci. 23(10): 3959-3962.
  5. Lauring AS, Frydman J, Andino R. 2013. The Role of Mutational Robustness in RNA Virus Evolution.11(5): 327-336.
  6. Kelly EB. 2019. Stem Cells. 2nd Ed. Santa Barbara, California: Greenwood.
Course Assessment Course work x 6 (90%)

In-class participation (10%)

The above course information is subject to change and approval.
Last updated on 28 February 2024