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Module

MMB8037 : Cardiovascular Science in Health and Disease

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

Aims

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 insights 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 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 discussion of procedures for disease identification and possibilities for translation of research findings towards improved diagnosis and treatments of cardiovascular disease. 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

Topics cover:

(1)       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. during cardiac development and in response to exercise and pregnancy), the role of transcriptional (mRNA, non-coding RNA) and translational (protein isoforms, post-translational modifications) regulation of these processes and the contribution of innate and adaptive immunity to vascular homeostasis. How these processes may become aberrant in chronic disease conditions (e.g. ageing, coronary heart disease and myocardial ischaemia (see below)) will be addressed. 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.

(2)       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, ischaemia and heart failure) with attention given to the interplay between vascular dysfunction (see above) and altered cardiac cell, tissue and organ dysfunction. Current research avenues for improving treatment (e.g. altering cellular senescence, targeted molecular re-expression or mechanical assist ventricular devices) will be discussed. 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.

(3)       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

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion691:0069:00Independent work on preparation and delivery of oral presentation and in-course essay
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading1111:00111:00Enhancement of knowledge delivered through seminars through advanced guided learning
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching91:009:00Present in person: Delivery of information essential to knowledge outcomes by specialists
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching71:007:00Synchronous online: Delivery of information essential to knowledge outcomes by specialists
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops21:002:00Present in person: delivery of an oral presentation
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops12:002:00Synchronous online: Guidance on critical analysis/thinking and essay writing
Total200:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Knowledge & understanding are obtained from the seminars (synchronous teaching), directed learning (non-synchronous teaching) and (encouraged) peer discussions. 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 seminars and in preparation for, and participation in, the in-course assessments (essay completion and oral presentations). The workshop session will provide guidance on the in-course essay and critical analysis of research papers.

Assessment Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M601500 word essay
Prof skill assessmnt1M4015 min individual oral presentation of critical appraisals of directed research papers: 20% slides & 20% oral
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The written in-course essay tests the student’s knowledge base gained through the synchronous teaching and their broader comprehension of the topic from directed (asynchronous) learning.

The professional skills assessment component comprises two elements:
Assessment 1: submission of slides with written text (up to 50 words per slide).
Assessment 2: 15 minute oral presentation of the submitted slides (up to 10 mins presentation and 5 mins Q & A).

The oral presentation assessment format comprehensively tests the students’ transferable skills in communication – visual (clear slides), written (accompanying text summaries) and verbal (clarity of thought) - and ability to work to critically appraise, and contextualise, scientific/clinical data and literature.

Reading Lists

Timetable