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MMB8037 : Cardiovascular Science in Health and Disease

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Helen Phillips
  • Lecturer: Dr Simon Tual-Chalot, Dr Guy MacGowan, Professor Michael Taggart, Dr Bill Chaudhry, Dr Stephen White, Dr Adam McDiarmid, Professor Christopher Eggett, Dr Louise Coats, Professor Deborah Henderson, Dr Gavin Richardson, Professor Judith Rankin
  • Other Staff: Dr Simon Bamforth
  • Deputy Module Leader: Professor Ioakim Spyridopoulos
  • Owning School: Biomedical, Nutritional and Sports Scien
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


Cardiovascular disease is the single biggest contributor to death and as such today is one of the most important areas of research the world over. This module gives students a detailed understanding of the development and function of the heart and the vasculature and insights into the dysfunctional processes that underlie many cardiovascular diseases.

The module will be taught by scientific and clinical research experts within three research Institutes of the Faculty of Medical Sciences (Biosciences Institute, Translational and Clinical Research Institute, Population and Health Sciences Institute) giving a broad perspective to the topic rooted in current state-of-the-art research knowledge.

The fundamentals of vascular and cardiac biology from molecular, genetic, cellular, tissue, organ and whole-body perspectives will be described. Examples of model experimental systems for the study of cardiovascular physiology and disease will be given throughout. These will be complemented by descriptions of in vivo measurements of important cardiovascular parameters in humans, as well as discussions of procedures for disease identification and possibilities for translation of research findings towards improved diagnosis and treatments of cardiovascular disease. Interactive sessions will focus on how to critique papers and discuss unravelling the genetics of congenital heart defects. Speakers will draw on examples from their own current areas of research activity.

The module is compulsory for students wishing to proceed to an MRes in Cardiovascular Science in Health & Disease and will also be of interest to students wishing to attain an understanding of cardiovascular function and disease and/or progress towards a research career in this important topic.

Outline Of Syllabus

This module will cover cardiovascular health and disease throughout the life course, and it will include the following topics:

•       The mechanisms of cardiac electrical excitation coupling.

•       Applications of Electrocardiology in clinical and research settings.

•       Alterations in vascular structure and function in normal physiology and in disease conditions.

•       Vascular endothelial cells in health and disease.

• The cellular processes and risk factors involved in atherosclerosis

•       Age-related diseases including, atrial and ventricular arrhythmias, development of atherosclerosis,
coronary heart disease, myocardial ischaemia and heart failure.

•       The processes controlling the cells and molecules during cardiovascular remodelling in response to

•       The molecular mechanisms underpinning vascular remodelling including transcriptional (mRNA) and
translational (protein) processes.

•       The contribution of innate and adaptive immunity to vascular homeostasis.

•       Current research avenues for improving treatment including altering cellular senescence, targeted
molecular re-expression, or mechanical assist ventricular devices.

•       Describe and discuss the suitability of specific in vivo measurement techniques of cardiovascular
function in health and in relation to specific diseases.

•       The key processes of heart development and the different genetic, cellular and tissue contributions.

•       Congenital heart defects and adult congenital outcomes.

•       The epidemiology of congenital heart defects.

•       The genetics of cardiovascular disease (focusing on cardiomyopathy) and related research using animal

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion601:0060:00Independent work on preparation and delivery of oral presentation and in-course essay
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials151:0015:00Non-synchronous online: Delivery of relevant lecture information essential for some PIP teaching
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading198:0098:00Enhancement of knowledge given in lectures/seminars via advanced guided learning & revision for exam
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching23:006:00Present in person (PIP): Delivery of an oral presentation and an interactive seminar with small group discussions
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching191:0019:00Present in person (PIP): Delivery of information essential to knowledge outcomes by specialists
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops12:002:00Present in person (PIP): Guidance on critical analysis/thinking and essay writing and interactive seminar critiquing papers.
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Knowledge & understanding are obtained from a blended approach where for some lectures (present in person teaching) will have relevant recorded material and information available in advance online allowing directed learning (non-synchronous teaching). Lectures will be present in person and a recording and relevant information will be posted online following the lecture. Peer discussions will be encouraged. Adequate time for student reading, some of which is directed as mentioned above, and reflective learning builds on these skills.

Comprehension, intellectual and critical appraisal skills are acquired as part of the discussions during lectures and in preparation for, and participation in, the two in-course assessments (Essay and the Paper and Data Interpretation Exercise) and formative oral presentations. The workshop session will provide guidance on the in-course essay and critical analysis of research papers.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M501500 word essay
Written exercise1M50Written Report (2000 words maximum) Interpretation and analysis of a scientific paper
Formative Assessments

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

Description Semester When Set Comment
Prof skill assessmnt1MPresent in person group oral presentation of submitted slides: critical appraisals of research papers: 15mins/5mins Q&As
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The summative in-course essay assessment tests the students knowledge base and critical thinking and analysis of published data, gained through the present in person teaching and non-synchronous lecture material online and their broader comprehension of the topic from self-directed learning.

In a summative Paper and Data Interpretation Exercise the students will be given a high quality published research paper which will cover a range of topics presented in the lectures. The students will have to answer 3 out of a choice of 4 questions. The answers will include several formats including short answer questions, analysing and plotting data, generation of diagrams, assessing and comparing the paper to published literature, and they will be required to use knowledge and understanding from the taught components and to use their critical thinking skills and additional research skills. The paper and questions will be released on a Monday for submission the following Monday.

The formative oral presentation assessment format comprehensively tests the students transferable skills in communication - visual (clear sides) and verbal (clarity of thought) - and ability to work to critically appraise and contextualise, scientific/clinical data and literature. They will work as a group allowing team working skills.

Reading Lists