BI3EM1-Evolutionary Medicine

Module Provider: School of Biological Sciences
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Level:6
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Pre-requisites:
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Co-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Dyan Sellayah

Email: d.sellayah@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module aims to foster an understanding and appreciation for modern medicine and diseases from an evolutionary perspective. This module will provide students with a broad understanding of evolutionary principles, concepts and theories and relate them to the pathogenesis of diseases and approaches to disease treatment. Specific diseases will be discussed in the context of their evolutionary origins and students will be encouraged to take a critical and analytical approach to study.


Aims:

This module aims to foster an understanding and appreciation for modern medicine and diseases from an evolutionary perspective. This module will provide students with a broad understanding of evolutionary principles, concepts and theories and relate them to the pathogenesis of diseases and approaches to disease treatment. Specific diseases will be discussed in the context of their evolutionary origins and students will be encouraged to take a critical and analytical approach to study.


Assessable learning outcomes:


  • Gain an understanding of various evolutionary theories and how they apply to modern medical conditions.

  • Gain an appreciation for the complex interaction between genetics and environment to bring about disease.

  • Understand how selection pressures have acted in revolutionary history and are still acting in modern humans to influence health and disease.

  • Gain an understanding of how knowledge of evolutionary principles may be applied to modern medicine to treat or prevent disease.


Additional outcomes:

Outline content:

1.  Introduction: Evolution and natural selection




  • Various forms of selection

  • ‘Constraints’ – competing interests.

  • Selfish gene theory.

  • Selection pressures

  • Sexual selection

  • Basic principles of evolutionary medicine



2.  Hygene theory and impact of cleanliness on the (auto)immune response




  • Asthma

  • T1D

  • Chrohns

  • Allergies



3.  Evolution of resistance to infectious diseases




  • HIV/SIV

  • Kuru

  • Malaria/sickle cell



4.  Evolutionary perspectives on cancer cell biology



5.  Evolutionary perspectives of diet and obesity




  • Lactase persistence

  • Thrifty gene hypothesis

  • Drifty gene hypothesis (genetic drift).



6.  Evolutionary perspectives on degenerative diseases associated with ageing




  • Ageing process itself

  • Osteoporosis

  • Osteoarthritis

  • Neurodegenerative



7.  Reproductive medicine




  • Maternal constraints

  • Epigenetics

  • Thrifty phenotype/ Barker hypothesis.

  • Parent – offspring competition

  • Placenta



8.  Mismatch – How modern urban environments are out of sync with our genes




  • Artificial lighting (body clocks and disease e.g. depression)

  • Shift work and disease

  • Agriculture (Lactase persistence/intolerance)


Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

The module will combine lectures with active learning methods which closely align with the learning objectives and assessment. Active learning methods will include discussion of topical articles and lecturer-led group debates, thus encouraging critical engagement with the subject and allow for a deeper approach to learning.


Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Guided independent study 80
       
Total hours by term 100.00
       
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

The assessment will consist of 100% coursework (2 separate pieces worth 50% each). These will be in the form of written assignments. 


Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (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: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    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.

    Assessment requirements for a pass:

    A mark of 40% overall


    Reassessment arrangements:

    Re-submission of coursework


    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

    Last updated: 20 April 2018

    THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS MODULE DESCRIPTION DOES NOT FORM ANY PART OF A STUDENT'S CONTRACT.

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