BI3BB7-Selected Topics in Endocrinology and Endocrine Disease

Module Provider: School of Biological Sciences
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Pre-requisites: BI2BB4 Endocrinology
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2014/5

Module Convenor: Dr Andrew Bicknell


Summary module description:

This module aims to build on the knowledge and concepts gained from the part 2 Endocrinology course (BI2BB4) by studying selected topics to the frontier of knowledge. The course will be given mainly from a historical perspective illustrating how advances in experimental techniques have contributed to the field of endocrinology.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the course, it is expected that students will be able to:
1. Give a comprehensive explanation of the experimental procedures that have been key to the advancement of endocrinology.
2. Interpret data derived from both single site and two site immunoassays.
3. Describe the experimental data that led to the discovery of pro-opiomelancortin and be able to explain the principle roles of the peptide hormones derived from it
4. Give a detailed account of the discovery of the prohormone convertase enzymes and the evidence that they are responsible for the processing of prohormones.
5. Describe the discovery and characterisation of the melanocortin receptors. Discuss how they are implicated in the regulation of feeding in mammals.
6. Give an account of current understanding of the cellular and molecular basis of development of cancers in endocrine-related tissues and explain how this knowledge can be applied to improve clinical management.
7. Discuss the biological implications of endocrine disruption for both aquatic wildlife and human health.
8. Describe the methods which are currently used to unravel molecular, cellular and physiological mechanisms of action of endocrine disrupters.

Additional outcomes:
Students will have the opportunity to:
1. Interpret and analyse primary experimental immunoassay data.
2. Read, understand and critically appraise primary literature.
3. Write a scientific abstract based upon data contained within a primary paper.

Outline content:
Topics covered will include: Methods used in the study of endocrinology; pro-opiomelanocortin and the concept of tissue specific processing; melanocortin peptides; processing of prohormones; melanocortin receptors; the regulation of feeding in mammals; current understanding of the development of cancers in endocrine-related tissues including breast, ovary, endometrium, prostate, testis; the mechanisms and impact of endocrine disruption on aquatic wildlife populations; implications of endocrine disruption for human health including infertility and cancer development; environmental oestrogens; compounds with antiandrogenic and other activity; neurological, teratogenic and immunological impact of endocrine disruption; pathways to regulation including the implications for the EU of REACH.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Two 50 min lectures will be given each week that will be supplemented with directed reading (mainly primary research papers and specialised reviews). In addition there will be three assessed tutorial sessions based on the interpretation of primary data.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Tutorials 2
Practicals classes and workshops 2
Guided independent study 76
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 70
Written assignment including essay 30

Other information on summative assessment:
Three pieces of assessed work based. Two based on tutorial sessions (analysing primary data and abstract writing exercises). The third based on a paper related to part of the lecture series (Interpretation and critical analysis of scientific literature).

Formative assessment methods:

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 two-hour examination requiring answers to two questions out of four

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Re-sit examination in August / September.

    Last updated: 8 October 2014

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