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MMB8037 : Cardiovascular Science in Health and Disease

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Michael Taggart
  • Lecturer: Dr Adil Anthony Chaudhry, Dr Helen Phillips, Professor Ioakim Spyridopoulos, Dr Christopher Eggett, Dr Guy MacGowan, Dr Djordje Jakovljevic, Dr Gavin Richardson, Professor Konstantinos Stellos, Professor Judith Rankin, Professor Helen Arthur, Dr Adam McDiarmid
  • Other Staff: Dr Simon Bamforth
  • Owning School: FMS Graduate School
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


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 vasculature and insight to 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, cellular, tissue, organ and organisms perspectives will be described. Examples of model systems for the study of cardiovascular disease will be given throughout and complemented by descriptions of in vivo measurements of cardiovascular parameters in humans, disease identification and possible translation of research findings towards improved diagnosis and treatments. Lecturers 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

Topics cover:

The fundamentals of vascular structure and function (especially the relationship between endothelial cells, vascular smooth muscle cells and extracellular matrix), blood vessel development and remodelling in physiological circumstances (e.g. cardiac development, exercise and pregnancy), the role of transcriptional(mRNA, non-coding RNA) and translational (protein isoforms, post-translational modifications) regulators of these processes and how they may be aberrant in chronic disease conditions (e.g. ageing and coronary heart disease). Current research areas for therapeutic advances will addressed. Reference will be made to the use of experimental research models for understanding vascular structure and function in normal circumstances and disease.

The fundamentals of cardiac cell and organ structure (cardiomyocyte striated structure to cell and tissue specialisations of the 4 cardiac chambers), electrical excitability (from single cell electrophysiology, whole organ imaging and diagnostic ECG) and contractile function (single cell to whole organ). Descriptions will be given as to how these processes may be altered in common disease conditions (e.g. ageing, atrial and ventricular arrhythmias and heart failure) and current research avenues for improving treatment (e.g. altering cellular senescence, mechanical assist ventricular devices). Reference will be made to the use of experimental research models for understanding cardiac structure and function in normal health and in a range of disease states.

The applicability of state-of-the-art in vivo measurement in humans of cardiovascular parameters important for the detection and diagnosis of, and improved treatment of, cardiovascular diseases.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion681:0068:00Independent and group work on preparation and delivery of oral presentations
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture151:0015:00Delivery of information essential to knowledge outcomes by specialists
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading1115:00115:00Enhancement of knowledge delivered through lectures through guided reading and reflection
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching12:002:00Guidance on assessed essay
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Knowledge & understanding are obtained from the lectures and group presentation. 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 in-course assessments (group presentations and essay completion). The small group teaching session will provide guidance on the in-course essay.

Communication skills are developed as part of the in-course assessments (group and individual oral presentations).

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination601A60One essay question from choice of three
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M201500 word essay
Prof skill assessmnt1M20Small group oral presentations of critical appraisals of directed research papers
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The written exam tests the student’s knowledge base gained through the lectures and their broader comprehension of the topic from directed and additional reading.
The essay assessment tests the ability of the students to communicate in writing their knowledge base by answering questions relevant to the taught topic. The oral presentations test the students’ transferable skills in communication and clear presentation and ability to work collaboratively and to critically appraise scientific/clinical data and literature.

Reading Lists