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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Biomedical Sciences : Biomedical Sciences

Undergraduate Course: Microorganisms, Infection and Immunity 2 (BIME08012)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Biomedical Sciences CollegeCollege of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 2 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course will provide a foundation in the biology of micro-organisms, how micro-organisms infect and interact with their hosts, an overview of the immune system and how it fights infection, and how disease may develop if the host fails to effectively deal with infection.

The course will start by introducing the process of infection, and giving an overview of how the immune system is organised (Section 1: Infection and immune System overview). Following this it will detail the characteristics and diversity of micro-organisms, including viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites (Section 2: Diversity and characteristics of microorganisms), and then describe how the immune system exploits these characteristics to identify, respond to, and develop memory towards diverse types of infectious micro-organisms (Section 3: How does the immune system detect infection?). It will then demonstrate how the biology of micro-organisms allows them to infect, survive and expand within their host (Section 4: Microorganism physiology and infection), before discussing the cells of the immune system and mechanisms by which they control and kill infectious microbes (Section 5: How does the immune system control infection?). Finally the course will cover how inflammation and pathology develop when the host fails to control infection (Section 6: The consequences of failing to control infection), and how infections and diseases can be controlled therapeutically (Section 7: Vaccination and immune therapies).

The lecture content will be reinforced through a combination of lecture review questions, practical sessions, and tutorials. The tutorials are focussed on developing the skills required to read scientific literature.

The broad intentions and outcomes of the course are as follows:

To describe the diversity, and fundamental structural and physiological characteristics of microorganisms, with an emphasis on microorganisms that infect humans. To give an overview of the strategies and processes by which microorganisms infect and survive within their host.
To describe how the mammalian immune system detects and kills infecting microorganisms.
To overview the processes by which infection can result in disease and immune pathology, and the consequences of failing to control infection
To describe how the immune system can be harnessed for the therapeutic treatment of infections or diseases (E.g. vaccines) and how components of the immune system are used for research and diagnostics
Course description The course will consist of 30 lectures, 10 hours of practicals, and 5 tutorials. The practicals will cover sources of infection and culture of micro-organisms, diagnoses of infection and pathology, sterilization and disinfection. The course will develop graduate attributes linked to understanding the scientific literature by continuing with the literature comprehension tutorial that are currently delivered in MCI2. The subject matter of these tutorials will complement the lecture material.

Formative assessment will be given in the form of a series of timed release questions that re-emphasize the main lecture points, and help the students use and apply the lecture material. Formative assessment will also be used to strengthen links between different aspects of the course.

Section 1) Introduction to Infection and Immunology

The challenge of micro-organisms: Infectious diseases
Summary of the major groups of microorganisms with a medical focus. Challenge dose, infective dose, tissue tropism. Transmission and virulence.

Immune system overview how do we deal with infection?
Anatomy of the immune system. Physical barriers. Innate cells. Adaptive immune cells. Memory. Development of immune cells

Co-evolution of pathogens and immunity
How infection drives the immune system, and in turn how the immune system impacts pathogens and infection strategies.

Section 2) Diversity and fundamental biology of infectious micro-organisms

The idea for this section is to emphasize the diversity and give the fundamentals of pathogen structures/properties.

Diversity and structure of bacteria.
Classification gram+/-, Intracellular components. Cell wall. Membranes. Periplasm and external structures e.g. Flagella, pili, exopolysaccharides, capsules, outer membrane vesicles and endospores.

Diversity and biology of viruses
Classification, structure, genomic organisation and genetic content, basic Lifecycle

Parasitic and fungal infections

Section 3) How the host combats pathogen diversity and uses the fundamental biology of pathogens to detect and respond to infection

Sensing micro-organisms: Innate cells
Challenge: how do you detect a wide range of different organisms as discussed above?
Answer: Use conserved molecules as discussed above in biology of bacteria/viruses/parasites.

PRRS, PAMPS, Complement, Cytokines inflammation, cell recruitment warning molecules. Introduction to innate cells.

Sensing micro-organisms: Adaptive immunity
Challenge: How do you recognize specific pathogens/strains when there are so many?
Answer: System of TCR and BCR and MHC.
T and B cells. Antigens and presentation. Self vs non-self. TCR and BCR. Clonal expansion. Memory. T cell help. T cell cytotoxicity. Structure and function of Ab

Section 4) The biology of infection

Bacterial processes for survival and expansion
Growth, replication, metabolism, genetics, transposable elements.

Viral processes for survival and expansion
Viral replication, genetics, latency, apoptosis, transformation

Section 5) How the immune system controls infection

Killing pathogens 1: Extra-cellular
Macrophages, Complement, Ab neutralising toxins, phagocytosis etc.., ADCC

Killing pathogens 2: Intra-cellular
CD8 cytotoxicity, NK cells, Ab blockade of entry, Latency (how immune response can affect latency)

The mucosal immune system and commensal pathogens
Discriminating pathogens from food (intro to tolerance). Food allergies. Commensals colonization resistance

Immune Evasion

Section 6) The consequences of failing to control infection
Inflammation and pathogenesis

Bacterial Pathogensis
Colonisation/adhesion, growth, immune evasion. Virulence determinants and regulation. Secretion systems and toxins.

Viral Pathogenesis

Section 7) Therapeutic control of infection and immune therapies

Discovery of vaccination, Active and passive immunisation, Types of vaccine, Adjuvants

Control of bacteria
Antibiotics and resistance.

Control of Viruses

Immune therapies and uses of Ab
mAb, Antibody techniques. In vivo Ab therapies - tumours/ anti-TNF therapies.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2014/15, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 30, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 5, Dissertation/Project Supervision Hours 10, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 10, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 141 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 60 %, Coursework 40 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 40% in course assessment (10% linked to the practicals and involve analysis and interpretation of results and 30% based on literature comprehension/data interpretation)

60% Exam: short answer questions and multiple choice questions
Feedback Not entered
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)2:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Describe the structural organization, metabolism, growth processes and genetics of microorganisms. Explain how pathogen structure and physiology relates to infection and survival within the host, and describe the mechanisms by which infection can lead to disease and immune pathology, using selected examples of microorganisms where appropriate.
  2. Describe the functions and characteristics of the innate and adaptive arms of the immune system. Explain the roles of the key innate and adaptive immune cells, and how they work together to recognize, respond to, and kill pathogens. Provide an overview on how uncontrolled immune responses can lead to disease and immune-mediated pathology.
  3. Describe how infection can be therapeutically controlled by immune (e.g. vaccination) and non-immune (e.g. drug treatments, hygiene) approaches. Explain how an immune component (antibodies) can be generated and applied as a tool for experimental research, and for the therapeutic treatment of diseases.
  4. Extract, summarise, and interpret information contained within selected primary scientific research papers pertaining to the areas of infection and immunity.
  5. Perform practical procedures to produce accurate results, explain the theoretical basis of the techniques employed, and be able to apply information from lectures and practicals to interpret experimental data.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Matthew Taylor
Tel: (0131 6)51 3625
Course secretaryMs Tracy Noden
Tel: (0131 6)50 3717
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