BMS3021 : Immunology of Health and Disease

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

The molecular links between antigen recognition and immune activation      

The consequences of lymphocyte activation

Immune regulation

How infectious disease can inform our knowledge of immune function

Analysis of triggers that may initiate immune disorders such as autoimmunity

Immune cell-based therapies for autoimmune disorders

Manipulation of immunity for human (and animal) health

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 ActivitiesLecture221:0022:00Lectures will be used as the primary method for knowledge transfer.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching21:303:00Class will be divided into groups for seminars. Students will attend 1 session (1.5hr) per seminar.
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
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 Examination1202A80Unseen Examination (2 essays from a choice of 4)
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise1M20Timed Essay (1hour)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The written examinations test the students' knowledge and understanding of the subject. The exam questions are designed to enable the students to critically evaluate the information they have accrued during the module and demonstrate the scope of their reading and the extent to which the have been able to understand it. The timed-essay enables the student to demonstrate their writing skills and their ability to prepare and organise. The timed-essay also requires the students to be critical and to demonstrate reading in the subject area. Feedback on the timed essay will help improve their writing skills for the final exams.

Reading Lists