CCST9082 Science, Technology and Big Data
Pandemics: From Science to Societal Impact

This course is under the thematic cluster(s) of:

  • Sustaining Cities, Cultures, and the Earth (SCCE)

Course Description

Throughout history, humankind has been heavily afflicted by pandemics, such as cholera, the bubonic plague and influenza. COVID-19 has brought major havoc to our life in the past three years. With the lifting of social distancing restrictions and our societies returning to normalcy, using COVID-19 as an example, this course tries to weave a coherent picture that explains how scientists learned about the virus, how authorities reacted around the world, and how different societies coped. 

This course consists of THREE parts: 1) the medical science of pandemic spread, diagnosis, prevention and treatments; 2) an overview of global governance and international cooperation, economic and social consequences of the outbreak, and breakthroughs in mathematical modellings and vaccines; and 3) examine specific countries and regions through the lens of good governance, social contract and political trust. Through lectures, tutorials, group projects and presentations, together with their own experiences, students will critically evaluate the measures adopted by different governmental bodies and their efficacies, predict and project how we might handle future pandemics. 

Upon completing this common core course, students should develop key intellectual skills that will be further enhanced in their disciplinary studies and play an active role as responsible individuals and citizens in local and global communities.

Course Learning Outcomes

On completing the course, students will be able to:

  1. Describe the definition of a pandemic and explain how a pandemic emerges and the factors controlling its spread.
  2. Describe how major biomedical discoveries/breakthroughs have improved human health globally and helped control the spread of a pandemic.
  3. Demonstrate awareness and critically evaluate the impacts of the pandemic on the process of sustainable development.
  4. Formulate informed arguments/solutions in responding to the management of potential future pandemics.
  5. Acquire the ability to communicate effectively through spoken texts (e.g., discussions and debates) and writing through appropriate visual modes and media (e.g., comic strip, graphs, posters).

Offer Semester and Day of Teaching

Second semester (Wed)

Study Load

Activities Number of hours
Lectures 24
Tutorials 8
Workshops 3
Reading / Self-study 40
Assessment: Quiz  10
Assessment: Essay / Report writing 5
Assessment: Group project presentation (incl preparation) 30
Total: 120

Assessment: 100% coursework

Assessment Tasks Weighting
Tutorial exercises 30
In-class quiz 20
Written assignment 10
Group project 20
Poster and oral presentation 20

Required Reading

  • Downey, L., & et. al. (2022). The impact of COVID-19 on essential health service provision for endemic infectious diseases in the South-East Asia region: A systematic review. The Lancet Regional Health – Southeast Asia, 1, 100011. From
  • Jecker, N. S., & Au, D. K. S. (2021). Does zero-COVID neglect health disparities? Journal of Medical Ethics, 48(3), 169-172.
  • Rahmandoust, M. & Ranaei-Siadat, S. (2021). COVID-19: Science to Social Impact. Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. From [Chaps. 1, 3, 5, 6, 7]
  • Sachs, J. D., & et. al. (2022). The Lancet Commission on lessons for the future from the COVID-19 pandemic. Lancet (London, England)400(10359), 1224–1280. From
  • Schleicher, A. (2020). The Impact of COVID-19 on Education – Insights from Education at a Glance 2020. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
  • Zamora-Ledezma, C., Clavijo, C., Medina, E., Sinche, F., Vispo, N., Dahoumane, S., & Alexis, F. (2020). Biomedical Science to Tackle the COVID-19 Pandemic: Current Status and Future Perspectives. Molecules, 25(20), 4620.

Course Co-ordinator and Teacher(s)

Course Co-ordinator Contact
Dr B.B.H. Yuen
School of Biomedical Sciences, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine
Tel: 3917 9500
Teacher(s) Contact
Dr B.B.H. Yuen
School of Biomedical Sciences, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine
Tel: 3917 9500
Dr Michael Manio
School of Biomedical Sciences, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine
Tel: 3917 9115
Dr R. Sinha
Medical Ethic and Humanities Unit, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine
Tel: 3917 9073
Dr A.T. Park
School of Public Health, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine
Tel: 3917 9925