SHE Level 5
SCQF Credit Points 15.00
ECTS Credit Points 7.50
Module Code MMB126394
Module Leader Paul Baker
School School of Health and Life Sciences
Subject Biological and Biomedical Sciences
  • A (September start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

At least a 2:2 honours degree (or equivalent) in a biomedical or biological science discipline.

Summary of Content

This module aims to provide a firm understanding of some of the causes of significant medical conditions currently reducing the quality of life of the world's population. Knowledge of the aetiology, pathology, epidemiology, treatment and current prevention strategies will be attained. The subjects included in this module will reflect current issues and topics in the field of Medical Biomedical science.


A range of infectious organisms and non-communicable diseases of world-wide significance will be explored in depth. Examples of disease causing organisms (e.g. viruses, protozoa, parasitic worms) of current importance and other disorders such as arthritis and autoimmune disease will be investigated. An indication of the organisms and conditions to be studied is made but changes may be made to include topics of current interest or are pertinent. Bacteria Bacteria are single celled, prokaryotic organisms and fortunately most are harmless to human health. Some however are pathogenic and may be transmitted not only between people but also between animals and people resulting in epidemics that can adversely affect millions of people rapidly. Topical examples of disease causing bacteria will be discussed during this module Viruses Viral outbreaks occur annually on a global basis, with sporadic epidemics leading to high mortality. The majority of these outbreaks could potentially be prevented with specific vaccination and education. Current methods for surveillance and awareness using relevant examples will be critically analysed. Protozoa Protozoa are single celled eukaryotic organisms that are capable of causing a number human diseases, the most well-known being Malaria. Amoebiasis (amoebic dysentry) caused by Entamoeba histolytica , occurs worldwide and can be fatal, while other free living species inhabiting soil and water bodies include Acathamoeba. This organism can cause Acathamoebic keratitis which is mainly contracted by contact lens users and can result in blindness and even death in individuals with compromised immune systems. Helminth parasites Helminth parasites include a number of different disease causing wormlike organisms (e.g. nematodes) that affect billions of people worldwide. Onchocerca volvulus, is a parasitic nematode worm and is contracted following a bite by an infected blackfly. It causes River blindness and is the second-leading cause of blindness worldwide after trachoma. Autoimmune Disease Autoimmune disease encompasses a wide range of conditions in which the immune system attacks the host. Each condition has unique aetiology with distinctive cellular and clinical manifestations, however in all conditions there is a breach of immunological tolerance and dysregulated immune response that leads to disease. These lectures will focus on autoimmune arthritis, discussing the associated genetic and environmental risk factors, cellular mechanisms of disease, morbidities and co-morbidities, and therapeutic intervention. Guillain-Barre9 Syndrome is a serious autoimmune disorder in which the immune system damages the peripheral nerves causing muscle weakness and sometimes paralysis. The cause of this condition is unclear but typically follows an infectious illness such as diarrhoea or a respiratory infection.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the module the student should be able to:1. Describe and appraise in detail, knowledge of infectious and non-infectious diseases that are currently impacting significantly on human health and wellbeing globally.2. Critically examine and interpret, scientific literature and published data relating to disease, and be able to communicate this information in an engaging and effective manner appropriate to their peers, senior colleagues, specialists or members of the public, using digital and non-digital media adjusted to suit purpose.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

The students will be introduced to a subject area through a combination of formal lectures and interactive discussion. The subject area will then be thoroughly explored by student-centre learning, requiring the completion of a learning package for each topic involving the library, textbooks, scientific journals, and electronic learning resources such as those provided by the NHS, World Health Organisation and European Centre for Disease Control. Follow-up tutorial sessions will help the student to interpret, critically analyse and evaluate scientific data. Students will then contemporaneously demonstrate their in-depth theoretical knowledge and communication skills via the production of their portfolio.

Indicative Reading

This module is part of a Research Lead teaching programme and the majority of reading material will be provided from up to date Review Articles as well as online resources provided by the World Health Organisation, CDC, ECDC, Health Protection Scotland and Public Health Englandand and NHS <> <>

Transferrable Skills

The student's personal transferable skills will be developed in the following areas: ICT skills : Information retrieval from library and electronic sources, Uses of mobile devices for sound recording. IT skills : Use of computers for word processing, application downloads, file format conversion, audio downloads and audio editing. Communication skills : Communication of scientific information in an appropriate, logical and coherent fashion, tailored for specific audiences and presented in a range of formats (Oral/Digital/Visual). Public Information Leaflet Graphical Abstracts Podcasts Poster Presentation Illustrated oral scientific report presentation Scientific Review Article Analytical skills: Review and critically evaluate published data. Independent study skills: students will develop organisational, independent study and communication skills in preparing their portfolio.

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Lectures (FT) 16.00
Directed Learning 86.00
Assessment (FT) 12.00
Independent Learning (FT) 20.00
Tutorials (FT) 16.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Course Work 01 n/a 100.00 50% Portfolio - includes podcast, poster leaflet etc