SHE Level 5
SCQF Credit Points 15.00
ECTS Credit Points 7.50
Module Code MMC526350
Module Leader Janice Spencer
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 examines at an in-depth level of the mechanisms employed by bacterial, viral and fungal pathogens of humans to cause disease. Students should gain an understanding of the role of the immune response to prevent infection and in the maintenance of homeostasis. There will be an emphasis on priority pathogens, antimicrobial resistance and the requirement for the development of novel treatments.


Immunology An overview of the anatomy and physiology of the immune system. This will include an introduction to key anatomical, cellular, and chemical mediators of the immune system and how immune cells orchestrate a response against pathogens. Cystic Fibrosis An overview of cystic fibrosis including the incidence, genetic and clinical factors, transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR), laboratory and prenatal testing, infection and immunity. Progression of lung disease and infection by Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Burkholderia cepacia complex. Recent advances in treatment including gene therapy and targeted antibiotics. Gut homeostasis, dysbiosis and opportunistic gut pathogens Gut homeostasis and the interaction between host immunity and the intestinal microbiota. Persistent disruption of the gut microbiota (dysbiosis) and the contribution to the decline in human health including inflammatory bowel diseases and infection with Clostridium difficile. C. difficile pathogenesis, diagnosis and treatment. Crohn's disease and attaching and invasive Escherichia coli. Fungal infections Clinically significant and emerging fungal pathogens will be covered in detail, specifically focussing on diagnostic and therapeutic considerations. Host-pathogen interactions will also be described, including the immune response recognition to pathogenic fungi, as well as immune evasion mechanisms employed by fungal pathogens to persist and establish infection. Viral Mechanisms and host responses Viral mechanisms of infection and the host response. Virus interference with host immunity and host immunity ad host cell restriction factors. Epidemiology and complications if the active immune system. Antimicrobial Resistance Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a major health issue and an increasingly serious threat to global public health. This study block will introduce the molecular mechanisms behind the development of AMR with an emphasis on the role of mobile genetic elements in the transmission of AMR in both hospital and community settings. The contribution to AMR of agriculture, the environment and global public health policies will be addressed. WHO priority pathogens An overview of the World Health Organisation Priority Pathogens and the requirement for the development of rapid diagnostics and novel treatments.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, the student should be able to:1. Relate the role the immune system has in the maintenance of human health by summarising the mechanisms used by pathogens to cause infections and identifying the requirement for the development of novel treatments of infectious disease.4. Consult current literature and critically examine published data.5. Demonstrate the ability to concisely summarise the material from a current relevant scientific review article

Teaching / Learning Strategy

Students will be taught by formal lectures and tutorial sessions, student centred learning and data analysis and interpretation. Student-centred learning will involve chelated information from library resources including current peer reviewed material. Data interpretation sessions will provide exercises in handling scientific data to encourage the consolidation of their taught material and understanding.

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. Viral Immunology Journal Providing critical peer-reviewed research on rare, emerging, and under-studied viruses, with a unique focus on analysing relationships between external viruses and internal immunity. Online access available via the Library. Weblink - Mucosal Immunology and Virology Tyring, Stephen K. editor.; SpringerLink (Online service);2006Springer eBooks Online access available via the Library. Viral pathogenesis : from basics to systems biology Katze, Michael G., editor. 2016 Online access available via the Library.

Transferrable Skills

Each student should develop generic skills including the development of information retrieval skills and the ability to review and critically analyse published data. Students will develop transferable skills around problem solving and communication as well as practice in reading scientific literature.

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Lectures (FT) 24.00
Independent Learning (FDL) 35.00
Directed Learning 70.00
Tutorials (FT) 6.00
Assessment (FT) 15.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Course Work 01 2.00 40.00 45% Data Interpretation
Exam 01 2.00 60.00 45% Unseen written examination.