Module Catalogue 2017/18

BMS2011 : The Nervous System and Respiratory Diseases

  • Offered for Year: 2017/18
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Fiona LeBeau
  • Lecturer: Professor Brendan Kenny, Dr David Bolam, Dr Peter Chater, Dr Amy Reeve, Dr Christopher Ward, Dr Claudia Racca, Professor Andrew Trevelyan, Dr Anthony De Soyza, Professor Mark Cunningham
  • Owning School: Biomedical Sciences
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



1) This module aims to build an understanding from basic cellular neuroscience through to behaviourally relevant function of network activity in the CNS.

2) This module aims to develop a students’ understanding of the physiology of the lung, the molecular pathology and pathogenesis of a range of lung diseases and the diagnostic tools and treatments available for these diseases.

3) This modules gives an opportunity to further develop written and oral communication skills

Neuroscience offers many challenges in understanding the way the brain functions. This can be to perform many complex tasks, to determine how neurons communicate and organise themselves in ordered networks, to work out why things sometimes go wrong and to deliver treatments for disorders that affect many peoples lives. To introduce neuroscience this module will cover the basic electrical properties of cells; types of cell-cell communication, properties of excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmission, synaptic plasticity, types of neuronal circuits, network rhythm (oscillation) generation and the cognitive importance of network oscillations.

Respiratory diseases are one of the most common forms of ill health in the UK. Respiratory conditions are the most common form of long term illness in children and the single main cause of emergency admissions to hospitals with the major diseases being chronic pulmonary obstructive disease, pneumonia, other respiratory infections and asthma. Thus in the UK respiratory diseases cost the NHS more than any other disease area. In addition the prevalence of respiratory diseases in the UK is increasing with asthma being a good example of this with between 15-20% of secondary school children and at least 10 % of adults having this disease. This module will focus on the study of the molecular pathophysiology of a range of respiratory diseases and infections, the diagnosis of these diseases and current and future treatment options for these diseases.

Outline Of Syllabus

Neuroscience Strand:

Introduction: overview of excitable cells; origin and control of the resting membrane potential.

Cell-cell communication: overview of synaptic chemical transmission, neurotransmitter release; electrical signalling via gap junctions, coupling potentials.

Excitatory neurotransmission; excitatory cells, pathways and systems; excitatory receptors (ionotropic versus metabotropic), excitatory potentials, plasticity.

Inhibitory neurotransmission; inhibitory cells, pathways and systems; inhibitory receptors (ionotropic versus metabotropic), inhibitory potentials, plasticity.

Synthesis and trafficking of neuronal proteins, changes in postsynaptic properties.

Basic neuronal circuits in the CNS; feedforward and feedback pathways, current excitation, disinhibition.

Origin of brain rhythms; origin of the EEG signal, cellular mechanisms underlying generation of theta and gamma frequency activity.

Cognitive functions of network rhythms; role of gamma oscillations; working memory; changes in network rhythms in neuropsychiatric conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Respiratory Disease Strand:

Introduction - Structure of the lung/mechanics of breathing/compliance/oxygen transfer.

The pathology and molecular pathogenesis of a range of obstructive and restrictive lung diseases including COPD, asthma, emphysema, IPF, cryptogenic fibrosing alveolitis, extrinsic allergic alveolitis, sarcoidosis.

Industrial diseases including pneumoconiosis and asbestosis.

The role of atmospheric pollutants, PM10, PM5, ultrafine particles, NO, SO2 on the development of lung disease will be discussed.

The pathology and pathogenesis of a range of respiratory infections including Staphylococcus aureus, Neisseria meningitidis, Streptococcus pneumoniea, Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

The bacteriology symptoms clinical nature, epidemiology, treatments and prevention of whooping cough, diptheria and legionnaire's disease.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

On completion of this module the student will be able to;

Explain the basic electrical properties of cells.
Describe types of cell to cell communication and discuss the properties of cells.
Describe types of neuronal circuits and discuss network rhythm (oscillation) generation and the cognitive importance of network oscillation.
Discuss the structure and function of the lung in relation to the pathogenesis of a range of lung diseases and infections.
Compare and contrast the pathology and molecular pathophysiology of a range of obstructive and restrictive and lung diseases.
Describe the pathology and pathophysiology of a range of occupational lung diseases.
Describe the pathology and pathophysiology of a range of respiratory infections and discuss the pulmonary complications of such diseases.
Describe the current tests used in the diagnosis of respiratory diseases.
Gather and interpret information with respect to the current and future treatment options for a range of respiratory diseases.

Intended Skill Outcomes

On completion of this module the student will be able to;

Source information using appropriate databases (e.g. Medline).
Research and produce a written report in an appropriate scientific style

Graduate Skills Framework

Graduate Skills Framework Applicable: Yes
  • Cognitive/Intellectual Skills
    • Critical Thinking : Assessed
    • Active Learning : Present
    • Literacy : Assessed
    • Information Literacy
      • Source Materials : Assessed
      • Synthesise And Present Materials : Assessed
      • Use Of Computer Applications : Present
  • Self Management
    • Planning and Organisation
      • Goal Setting And Action Planning : Present
      • Decision Making : Present
    • Personal Enterprise
      • Innovation And Creativity : Present
      • Initiative : Present
  • Interaction
    • Communication
      • Written Other : Assessed

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture331:0033:00
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching13:003:00Seminar
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1641:00164:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will provide students with key information. The Seminar session will encourage an increased understanding of the material through discussion. Private study will allow students to extend their knowledge through reading of text books, journal articles and other recommended reading.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1202A80Unseen - 50% EMI & 50% essays.
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M20Extended Essay (2000 words)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The examination provides evidence of knowledge and understanding of the topics. The extended essay supports the students’ development in finding and critically analysing current literature and their written communication skills.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2017/18 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2017/18 entry will be published here in early-April 2017. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.