What are the differences between younger and older people in terms of how diseases progress? The DynAge “Disease in Human Aging – Dynamics at the Level of Molecules, Individuals, and Society” Focus Area takes an interdisciplinary approach to questions like these.
Within this Focus Area, scholars and scientists from the fields of natural sciences, humanities, and social sciences at Freie Universität do joint research with medical experts from Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, the joint medical school of Freie Universität and Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. That makes this an excellent setting for introducing students to interdisciplinary, cross-institutional research on a subject of social relevance.
Starting in the 2013/2014 winter semester, groups of students are regularly involved in various research projects at this Focus Area on a systematic basis. With supervision and assistance from experienced scholars and scientists, they work on a range of issues, studying them empirically and presenting the results at the Focus Area’s annual workshops.
These courses are part of the students’ schedules, and students earn academic credit for them. They give students insight into interdisciplinary research and working groups, offer an opportunity to “publish” of research results as poster presentations, and highlight possible avenues to pursue in a master’s thesis.
The scholars and scientists involved receive support during their project work and benefit from synergy between their teaching and research activities.
Starting in October 2013, students of the master's degree program in psychology with a focus on clinical and health psychology (in the third semester in each case) have the opportunity within the DynAge research workshop to identify a sub-issue within the DynAge projects, participate actively in the project with guidance, and create a poster on the issue. The posters are presented at the end of the semester, at an event marking the end of the research workshop and at the Annual DynAge Workshop. A number of master’s thesis topics have arisen from previous research workshops.