BMS2015 : Health and disease at mucosal surfaces

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


Breathing, feeding and reproduction are all dependent on healthy mucosal surfaces that have evolved over million of years to mediate simultaneously two fundamentally contradictory functions: facilitating exchanges between the inside and outside of the human body and protect us from infectious diseases. When the balances/homeostasis of these mucosal functions are disrupted important and a broad diversity of pathologies can develop.

The module aims to develop knowledge and understanding of the:

•key features of the human mucosal innate and adaptive immune systems and their dynamic interactions with the microbiota in the digestive, reproductive and respiratory tracts and their roles in health and disease
•molecular and genomic techniques used to investigate the human microbiota including its taxonomic diversity and metabolic capabilities
•complex interplay between the mucosal immune systems, the microbiota and pathogens – including selected viruses, bacteria and microbial eukaryotes (protozoa and fungi)
•clinical importance of selected diseases of the digestive and respiratory tracts
•physiology of the lung,and pathogenesis of a range of lung diseases
•molecular and pathological changes in lung disease and the diagnostic tools and treatments available for these.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module will be structured into 2 strands;

Strand A: Human-microbe interactions in health and disease at mucosal surfaces which will provide;

•introduction to mucosal surfaces including epithelial/immunocyte/microbiota interaction at the different mucosal surfaces in health and disease
•Bacteroidetes and glycan metabolism
•microbiota-bacterial/fungal/protozoa/viral pathogen interactions

Strand B: Respiratory disease which will provide;

•a review of the structure of the lungs, the mechanics of breathing and the techniques applied to the assessment of lung function
•drugs affecting the respiratory system
•obstructive and restrictive lung disease
•occupational and infectious lung disease
•pathophysiology of cystic fibrosis

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture301:0030:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching12:002:00Seminar to train in research paper reading
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops11:001:00Workshop to prepare for the extended essay
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1167:00167:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will provide students with key information. The Seminar session will familiarise the students with reading scientific papers and prepare for final MCQ-style exam questions and increase understanding of the taught material through discussion. The seminar will provide two research papers to cover both module themes and students will be encouraged to work in groups to carefully read and annotate the two research papers. This will prepare the students for the marked extended essay and the MCQ section of the formal examination.

There will also be an essay-writing workshop to prepare students for the in course and final essay-style exam questions.

Private study and active learning on part of the students are essential. These will allow students to extend their knowledge through reading of textbooks, journal articles and other recommended reading.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1202A80Unseen - 50% MCQ and 50% essays.
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M20Extended Essay (2000 words)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The examination provides evidence of individual knowledge and understanding of the topics. The extended essay supports the students’ development in finding and critically analysing current literature and their written communication skills.

Reading Lists