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BMS3021 : Immunology of Health and Disease

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Andrew Knight
  • Lecturer: Dr Arthur Pratt, Dr Christopher Nile, Professor Catharien Hilkens, Professor Andrew Gennery, Professor Kevin Marchbank, Professor Andrew Fisher, Professor Simi Ali
  • Owning School: Biomedical, Nutritional and Sports Scien
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


This module aims to consider human immunity in health and disease. Newcastle University has considerable research activity in these areas and this module will focus on examining recent findings and techniques, including those obtained from immuno-compromised patients, which have increased our understanding of basic immunology. The theme underpinning this module will thus be how understanding various components and processes within the immune system is currently influencing the development of new treatments. In particular the module will focus on:

•understanding at the cellular and molecular level the components and steps involved in initiating effective immune responses
•how the examination of the immune responses to a variety of different pathogens can lead to significant increases in the understanding of the human immune system
•how immunity can be “mis-directed” resulting in either chronic inflammation or autoimmune disease
•how understanding the precise detail of events leading to autoimmune disorders is essential for the development of effective therapies
•how understanding the basic concepts of molecular and cellular immunity is allowing increased organ transplantation success.

Outline Of Syllabus

Review and update of the cells of the immune system along with current techniques used for immunological study.

The molecular links between antigen recognition and immune activation      

The consequences of lymphocyte activation

Immune regulation

How infectious disease and immune deficiencies can inform our knowledge of immune function

Analysis of triggers that may initiate immune disorders such as autoimmunity

Immune cell and drug-based therapies for autoimmune disorders

Manipulation of immunity for human health including transplantation

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion401:0040:00The assessment preparation and revision for the assessments.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture221:0022:00In person
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching31:003:00Seminars in person
Guided Independent StudyReflective learning activity951:0095:00Reading and updating on subject using references from lecturers, RECAP and other sources.
Guided Independent StudyReflective learning activity401:0040:00Writing and reflecting on lectures
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
BMS3010Genetics and Human Disease
BMS3017Clinical Ageing and Health
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will provide the majority of the knowledge base. Most will integrate information researchers have gathered from the study of the immunology of healthy and diseased patients and animal models. Students will have an opportunity to consider and discuss real research topics and disease examples in the tutorial/seminars. The lectures should stimulate the students to reflect and do further reading and the seminar/ tutorials should stimulate the students to reflect and critically consider research findings and their translation to the treatment of human disease.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1202A70Invigilated exam 2 out of 4 essays
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise1M30Paper Interpretation Exercise maximum 1000 words. Recommended completion time 2 hours, given 8 hours to submit online.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The open book essay provides evidence of key writing skills that allow knowledge and understanding of the topics to be demonstrated along with the ability to integrate this within the context of published material.

The paper interpretation exercise tests the understanding of research literature, discipline knowledge, data analyses, methodologies and critical appraisal abilities. Paper to be provided online 7 days in advance of submission period. Feedback from the paper interpretation exercise will also help with the student's exam assessment.

Reading Lists