BI3BJ8-Viral Pathogens

Module Provider: School of Biological Sciences
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Pre-requisites: BI2BO4 Virology
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Dr Geraldine Mulley


Summary module description:

To gain knowledge of the replication and cell tropisms of some of the leading virus pathogens. To convey an understanding of the diverse mechanisms by which some viruses, whilst interacting with their hosts, lead to disease while others do not.

Assessable learning outcomes:
The students will have an understanding of how viruses persist within a host and how zoonosis can lead to emerging disease. Students are also expected to be able to critically assess published papers and to present research summaries of the relationship between such papers to a group. At the end of the course the student will be able to describe and explain the outcome of a virus infection on a host organism and to interpret and discuss papers published in academic journals which relate to this process. Through two problem based learning sessions with staff, students will gain valuable presentation experience, which will help their future careers.

Summaries of debates; answers at interview to specific questions; written examination.

Additional outcomes:
Experience of speaking on a chosen subject within Virology to an audience and arguing points in support of and against the conclusion using other scientific literature as evidence. Experience of one to one interview situation.

Outline content:
This unit studies the interaction of viruses with the whole organism, with an aim to understanding how viruses persist both within an individual and within a population. The unit studies virus-host interactions at the molecular level. The unit covers the following areas: viral tropisms, the role of the immune response in viral pathogenesis; strategies adopted by viruses to evade the host immune response and the emergence of new virus infection. Specific examples of infectious agents are also covered and include hepatitis viruses, TSEs, HIV, influenza and herpes viruses. Virus evolution and emerging diseases are also discussed.

In addition to a series of lectures, the course offers problem based learning sessions, where students debate issues of interest to the wider virology community including forming an opinion on the benefit or not of vaccination. In addition to the debates, the course offers the opportunity to read and digest breaking research in virology and to be interviewed on it.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Debates, Lectures, Interviews

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 16
Work-based learning 4
Guided independent study 80
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 70
Oral assessment and presentation 15
Set exercise 15

Other information on summative assessment:
Summary of debate(s) and ability to answer questions at interview

Formative assessment methods:
Extensive verbal feedback is given at the break and after classes.

A one hour pre-seesion is available prior to the PBL sessions for discussion and presentation planning.

Previous years' examination papers are available on Blackboard.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor 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

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

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Re-examination in August/September.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 21 December 2016

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