Module Catalogue 2018/19

BMS2012 : Clinical Immunology and Viral Pathogens

  • Offered for Year: 2018/19
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Debra Bevitt
  • Lecturer: Dr Andrew Gennery, Professor Robert Hirt, Professor John Kirby, Dr Simon Whitehall, Professor Jane Calvert, Dr Robert Yeo, Dr Beth Lawry, Dr Christopher Bacon
  • 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



• To develop an appreciation of the part played by the immune system in a range of human diseases

•To build upon the students’ knowledge of basic virology and develop an understanding of the biology of pathogenic viruses

Outline Of Syllabus

Clinical Immunology Strand:
The module considers the role of the immune system in human disease. The first part of the module considers immunity in the context of infectious disease with particular reference to inflammation and immunodeficiency. The second part of the module considers how immune responses can cause disease with reference to allergic disease, autoimmunity, cancers of the immune system and transplantation. Finally the module describes the diagnostic techniques currently used in clinical immunology, immunosuppressive drugs and the potential of immunomodulation and immunotherapy in the treatment of a number of conditions.

Virology Strand:
Strand B (Viral Pathogens) considers the ways in which viruses cause disease. It examines the mechanisms by which viruses enter host cells, replicate within them and are finally released and transmitted from man to man and from animals to man. The host response to viral infection is described and the outcomes, including full recovery, acute infection, chronic infection, latent infection and death are considered. Specific examples, including measles virus, hepatitis B virus, herpes viruses and Ebola virus are described. The role of viruses in development of some cancers is discussed, examining the role of human papilloma virus in cervical cancer in particular. Finally retroviruses are discussed, including HIV and retroviruses used in gene therapy.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

Strand A Clinical Immunology Learning Outcomes:

By the end of this section students should be able to:

-Explain what is meant by primary and secondary immunodeficiency; discuss the causes of immunodeficiency and the consequences of different types of immunodeficiency

-Explain the molecular and cellular events underlying acute and chronic inflammation. Appreciate the clinical significance of inflammation and give specific examples of inflammatory disease

-Explain what is meant by hypersensitivity and its significance; describe the mechanisms underlying each of the four main types of hypersensitivity reaction and give specific examples of each

-Explain what is meant by an allergic reaction; appreciate the clinical significance of allergy and give examples of allergic diseases

-Discuss what constitutes an autoimmune disease; explain the distinction between organ-specific and non-organ-specific autoimmune diseases and give examples of each; discuss how autoimmune reactions may account for the pathogenesis of organ-specific and non-organ specific diseases; discuss the factors that may contribute to the development of autoimmune disease

-Explain what is meant by ‘immune surveillance”; discuss the prospects for harnessing immune responses against tumours in cancer therapy

-Define the terms autograft, allograft and xenograft; describe the events which may lead to allograft rejection, and the steps that can be taken to minimise the chances of this occurring

-Discuss the features and roles of the mucosal immune systems that deal with many of the infectious we experience.

Strand B: Viral Pathogens Learning Outcomes:

By the end of this section students should be able to:

•       Explain the following features of viral pathogenesis:
      How viruses infect human tissues and the host response to viral infection
      The range of outcomes of viral infection
      Acute, chronic and latent viral infections
      Transmission of viruses from animals to man (zoonoses)
      How oncogenic viruses are associated with tumour development
      Mechanisms of infection by retroviruses and associated diseases

•       Describe specific viral pathogens which can be used to illustrate the features listed above.
•       Describe examples of drugs used to treat viral infection and explain their mechanism of action

Intended Skill Outcomes

By the end of this module students will be able to

Demonstrate oral communication skills.

Interpret and synthesize complex information relating to clinical immunology and virology.

Source material from appropriate databases.

Demonstrate team working skills.

Graduate Skills Framework

Graduate Skills Framework Applicable: Yes
  • Cognitive/Intellectual Skills
    • Critical Thinking : Assessed
    • Data Synthesis : Assessed
    • Active Learning : Assessed
    • Literacy : Assessed
    • Information Literacy
      • Source Materials : Assessed
      • Synthesise And Present Materials : Assessed
      • Use Of Computer Applications : Assessed
  • Self Management
    • Self Awareness And Reflection : Assessed
    • Planning and Organisation
      • Goal Setting And Action Planning : Present
      • Decision Making : Present
    • Personal Enterprise
      • Innovation And Creativity : Assessed
      • Initiative : Present
      • Independence : Present
      • Problem Solving : Present
      • Adaptability : Present
  • Interaction
    • Communication
      • Oral : Assessed
      • Interpersonal : Present
    • Team Working
      • Collaboration : Assessed
      • Relationship Building : Present
      • Leadership : Present
      • Negotiation : Present
      • Peer Assessment Review : Assessed
  • Application
    • Occupational Awareness : Present

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture281:0028:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture21:002:00Seminar - full module cohort in attendance
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching12:002:00Scientific paper interpretation workshop
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching12:002:00Poster Presentation
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1166:00166:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will provide students with key information and guidance for additional reading.
Poster presentation and paper interpretation workshop develop interpersonal communication, increase understanding of lecture material and primary literature by discussion with peers and teachers and help prepare students for final exam. Private study will allow students to extend and reinforce their knowledge and understanding through reading of text books, journal articles and use of other recommended resources (eg online).

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 and 50% scientific paper interpretation exercise.
Exam Pairings
Module Code Module Title Semester Comment
1Sister module delivered at NuMed. To be timetable at 9:30 am and not on a Friday.
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Prof skill assessmnt2M10Poster Presentation (10 mins) - team present a poster summarising experimental data from a scientific research paper
Prob solv exercises2M10Guided interpretation of a primary research paper (500-1000)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The EMI section of the examination will assess the students breadth of knowledge and understanding; the scientific paper interpretation section of the examination will assess the students ability to use their knowledge and understanding of the topics to data presented in a scientific research paper.

The poster presentation assesses information literacy, computer literacy, ability to interpret scientific papers, planning and organisation skills, group working skills and oral presentation skills. The scientific paper interpretation exercise assesses ability to interpret data presented in a scientific research paper and will prepare students for the scientific paper interpretation element of the examination.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes

Original Handbook text:

Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2018/19 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 2018/19 entry will be published here in early-April 2018. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.