Module Provider: School of Biological Sciences
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Pre-requisites: BI1BA1 The Living Cell
Non-modular pre-requisites: Recommended
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2014/5

Module Convenor: Prof Phil Knight


Summary module description:

The aim of this course is to provide students with a description of the main concepts and central mechanisms of the mammalian immune response, so that the students may understand how animals, especially humans, react to antigens and attack by pathogens. Students will also be introduced to the main forms of inmmunolpathology and will gain an appreciation of how vaccines are produced and how antibodies may be used as 'tools' in clinical medicine and biological research. Information derived from this course is essential for a good understanding of material in subsequent modules concerning pathogens and disease processes.

Assessable learning outcomes:
Assessable outcomes
By the end of the course students are expected to be able to discuss and explain (if necessary in simplified form):
1.The different types of immunity occurring in a mammal (i.e. innate and acquired);
2.The essential terminology associated with the subject;
3.The roles of lymphocytes and other specialised cells, organs and tissues in the acquired immune response;
4.The nature of antigens and how they are recognised and neutralised by the immune system;
5.The nature, structure and roles of receptors, especially immunoglobulins and the T cell receptor;
6.The generation of diversity of immunoglobulins, and concepts associated with immunocompetence;
7.Examples of the role of experimental studies in clarifying the mechanisms of the immune response.
8.The different types of immunolopathology: hypersensitivity, autoimmunity and immunodeficiency;
9The principle and practice of vaccination with appropriate examples;
10.Examples of practical uses of antibodies (e.g. immunodiagnostic assays)

Additional outcomes:
The students will appreciate the rapid growth of the subject through a critical approach to immunological material presented in videos and discussion/tutorials sessions.

Outline content:
A series of lectures that will outline the main aspects of immune responses of mammals: differences between innate and acquired (adaptive) immunity; cellular events (leucocytes, haemopoiesis, lymphoid tissues, development and function of B and T cells, cytokines and their receptors); immunochemical aspects (antigens, antibodies, major histocompatibility complex, T-cell receptor, complement); genetics of immunoglobulins, practical uses of antibodies.These lectures are supported by four videos that review and extend lecture material. Discussion/tutorial sessions will reinforce material already presented and should lead on to discussion of experiments that have advanced immunological knowledge. Students are asked to read parts of a recommended course textbook.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
There will be two 50-minute lectures each week. Students will be expected to learn through directed reading. Short videos (20-30 minutes) each followed by a discussion/tutorial session (~50 minutes) will take place on 4 occasions at fortnightly intervals. On alternate weeks, there will be 4 tests (each of 30 minutes duration maximum) with multiple choice questions. These tests, which encourage on-going learning of material throughout the course, as well as being the in-course assessment, will be marked before the subsequent test and correct answers will be posted on BlackBoard.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 22
Seminars 3
Guided independent study 75
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 70
Class test administered by School 30

Other information on summative assessment:
Assessment will be based on 4 in-course tests held at fortnightly intervals and contribution to tutorial/discussion groups as instructed. Each test will last approximately 30 minutes and will consist of multiple choice questions. If more than one test is missed by a student for good reason (i.e. reason accepted by personal tutor or module coordinator), a supplementary test may be offered on a date that is mutually convenient.

Formative assessment methods:
For each of the three tutorials, topic guidance notes and worksheets are given out to students one week beforehand. Answers to the questions raised on the worksheet are dealt with during the tutorial but individual worksheets are not formally assessed by staff.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:
    A one-and-a-half hour examination requiring the answer of two questions out of four.

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Re-examination in August/September only

    Last updated: 8 October 2014

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