Undergraduate opportunities at the Charles Perkins Centre

The Charles Perkins Centre is proud to support a senior undergraduate unit of study and a range of honours projects.

Experimental approaches to the study of biological systems are shifting from hypothesis driven to hypothesis generating research. Large scale experiments at the molecular scale are producing enormous quantities of data ("Big Data") that need to be analysed to derive significant biological meaning. For example, monitoring the abundance of tens of thousands of proteins simultaneously promises ground-breaking discoveries. In this unit, you will develop specific analytical skills required to work with data obtained in the biological and medical sciences. The unit covers quantitative analysis of biological systems at the molecular scale including modelling and visualizing patterns using differential equations, experimental design and data types to understand disease aetiology. You will also use methods to model cellular systems including metabolism, gene regulation and signalling. The practical program will enable you to generate data analysis workflows, and gain a deep understanding of the statistical, informatics and modelling tools currently being used in the field. To leverage multiple types of expertise, the computer lab-based practical component of this unit will be predominantly a team-based collaborative learning environment. Upon completion of this unit, you will have gained skills to find meaningful solutions to difficult biological and disease-related problems with the potential to change our lives..

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Obesity is a worldwide health problem driven by a complex intersection between genetics and the environment. This interdisciplinary unit of study aims to explore recent advances in 'omics' technology and big data analysis. The focus will be on how to tackle highly complex questions such as why some individuals become obese and others don't. The problem will be presented from a range of societal, biological and evolutionary perspectives to increase breadth of knowledge on the problem of obesity. You will be provided a research training opportunity to contribute to our understanding of the relevant problems of over-nutrition in our society. Collaborative research is supported by lectures and tutorials on nutrition science, systems thinking and data coding and analysis to deepen data literacy and enhance interdisciplinary communication and collaboration.

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Our program of Open Learning Environment units attract record numbers of enrolments from students across the University. Current units in the cirriculum are:

OLET1510 Sleep  Our sleep and circadian rhythms are integral to our health and wellbeing, but they are often at odds with our technology-filled, caffeine-fuelled, and 24-hour global society. This unit introduces how the sleep and circadian rhythms work, giving you insight into how you can optimise your sleep, health, and performance.
OLET1504 Diabetes  This unit explores diabetes from three different perspectives: biomedical research, social change and economic impact solutions. At the end of the unit, you will be able to demonstrate a knowledge of current research in the causes of diabetes; describe treatment options, costs and societal burden; understand the future predictions for disease prevalence and solutions and apply critical and holistic thinking to tackling diabetes. 
OLET1501 Cardiovascular Disease  This unit explores broad reaching aspects of cardiovascular disease, presented in the narrative of a patient presenting symptoms to a clinic, through to his/her diagnosis (including risk factors), description of cellular mechanisms, and development/application of treatment options (basic research, translational).
OLET1508 Evolution, Health and Disease Chronic diseases are the leading cause of death, disability and reduced quality of life across the world. Generating innovative solutions to combat these global health challenges requires us to rethink our traditional approaches to their causes, In this unit, you will learn how an approach using evolutionary thinking can generate new ways of identifying potential solutions.
OLET1514 Physical Inactivity  Develop an up-to-date understanding of the role of physical activity and exercise for the health of the population as well as the most promising principles for encouraging more people to become physically active. The unit goes beyond disease prevention to explore themes like positive wellbeing, maintenance of functional ability, retaining independence and how the environment determines our physical activity behaviour.
OLET1506 Allergy and Autoimmunity An introduction to one of the major chronic health challenges of the 21st century: the increasing burden of allergies and autoimmune diseases. The unit will cover, at a basic level, what allergies and autoimmune diseases are, how they are treated, how they impact on the lives of individuals and the community, why they are becoming more common as living standards rise and what we might do to prevent them in future.
OLET1518 Weight Management  Our genetic predisposition combined with the modern, obesogenic environment has created a ‘perfect storm’ for body weight issues. As such, weight regulation is a topic of growing interest, significance and concern. The aim of this unit is to provide its students with a basic understanding of factors affecting body weight regulation and how they contribute to over and undernutrition.
OELT2314 Complexity: Agent-based Modelling This unit will develop an awareness of the complex nature of systems around and within us, with the view to develop and expand the expertise in computational modelling and policy development for crisis forecasting and management.