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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Biological Sciences : Biology

Undergraduate Course: Parasite Biology 3 (BILG09003)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Biological Sciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 9 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryUnderstanding of the biological, molecular, genetic, immunological and epidemiological importance of protozoan and helminth parasites of medical and veterinary impact, including the host-parasite interaction and new strategies for parasite control via vaccination and drug therapy.
Course description The study of parasites continues to expand since these animals cause many intractable diseases of medical, veterinary and economic importance. They have also proved to be excellent experimental models which have informed thinking on the basic biology, cell biology, molecular biology and immunology of all eukaryotes.

This course concentrates on some of the parasites that cause important medical and veterinary diseases. The information and practical work contained in the course have been chosen to appeal not only to students interested in applied parasitology but also to those with a general interest in the control, epidemiology, immunology, molecular and cellular biology of parasites. The course provides a good foundation for students aiming for parasitology-based fourth year courses and careers and a useful adjunct to courses on biochemistry, genetics, immunology.

The overall aims of the course are to provide a basic knowledge of parasites, including their epidemiology, immunology, genetics, molecular and cell biology. The lectures show how the major groups of parasites have solved the special problems faced by species living on or in other animals. Further the course will illustrate how new developments in the study of parasitic organisms is highlighting their unique, and often elegant, biology and how this may be exploited to combat them. In particular, the course will take a multidisciplinary view of parasite biology, with particular focus on the most recent findings in parasite research to show how modern research methods, including molecular methods, are being directed towards controlling parasites and the problems, such as resistance to drugs, which face humans when they try to control parasites.

Dedicated practical sessions will be associated with each taught theme in order to highlight particular points and to provide further understanding of parasite biology in its many forms.

Students will normally be required to have taken Microorganisms, Cells & Immunity or Microorganisms, Infection & Immunity 2. Animal Biology 2 is also a recommended course.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites It is RECOMMENDED that students have passed ( Animal Biology 2 (BILG08011) OR Genes and Gene Action 2 (BILG08003) OR The Dynamic Cell 2 (BILG08009))
Students MUST have passed: Microorganisms, Infection and Immunity 2 (BIME08012)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesEquivalent of the courses listed above
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2016/17, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 19, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 1, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 8, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 1, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 165 )
Additional Information (Learning and Teaching) 1 hour 'Essay Topic Choice' Tutorial
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 50 %, Coursework 30 %, Practical Exam 20 %
Additional Information (Assessment) In line with the standard assesment policy for courses in the School of Biology, students are required to obtain an aggregate mark of 40% based on the weighting of marks for the written exam and in-course assessment.


1. Written Paper: A two-hour written examination in week 12 will contribute 50% of the final marks.

In-course component of assessment

1. Essay: The essay of not more than 1500 words, will help develop written communication skills. Each student will chose his/her own topic. The essay, to be handed in during week 7, will contribute 30% of the final mark.
2. Analysis of Parasite Genomes 20%

Feedback Not entered
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S1 (December)Parasite Biology 32:00
Resit Exam Diet (August)Parasite Biology 32:00
Learning Outcomes
Increased understanding of biological processes.
Detailed learning outcomes will be provided later.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills The University has identified six groups of abilities (see headings below) that should be developed as part of the University of Edinburgh training experience, and to enhance your employability as a graduate for the 21st Century. These abilities take your skill-base beyond simply academic knowledge and are enhanced at each stage of your degree. They relate to Parasite Biology 3 in a number of specific ways, as outlined below.

1) Knowledge and Understanding: All components of the course provide this to some degree but your lectures, in particular, provide an important framework upon which you can build these attributes. This University considers itself to be a research-led Institution and all of the lecturing staff on Parasite Biology 3 run successful and highly active research programmes. The material you will be exposed to will be often based on their research activities, providing you with cutting edge information and ideas. In this course you will develop a comprehensive knowledge of core concepts in modern parasite research and in the approaches to investigate the basic biology of parasites, the spread of human and veterinary parasites in the field and approaches that are being used to develop vaccines and therapies against these pathogens.

2) Research and Enquiry: These skills are enhanced by encouraging further reading of books, research papers and electronic materials, to embellish your lecture and practical material. They underpin your ICA material (Essay and Practical Assessment). These aspects are particularly enhanced through the investigations you will carry out to prepare the in-course essay, the subject for which you will choose yourself- providing real experience in researching a particular parasite-related topic. Combined, the essay and practical assessment provides a route to surveying current and past scientific arguments, in an appropriate context, and provides the foundation for hypothesis driven analysis.

3) Personal and Intellectual Autonomy: By reading and preparation of your in-course essay, based on a topic of your choosing, you will learn to synthesise your own views, develop reasoned arguments and further refine your scientific judgement. The practical multiple choice assessment exercise also provides you with an opportunity to integrate the knowledge you will have acquired in the laboratory to answer questions that are often faced by health workers and researchers working with the parasites encouraging you to investigate the information that is available to researchers to understand how the parasites are diagnosed and controlled. Such skills will enhance your capacity for life-long and independent learning, as well as providing experience that is highly relevant for research careers in this field.

4) Communication: This is a key attribute of all scientists and it is therefore important that you develop skills to interact constructively with others and convey knowledgeable and balanced scientific views. We provide training in this area through our in-course work and by providing a portal for interaction between students via the Learn Discussion Forum.

5) Personal Effectiveness: The ability to organise and summarise your thoughts and material in a flexible and accessible way are core features that are required for personal effectiveness. Planning, time management and reflection are central to this. Of course these features also interlink with your personal and intellectual autonomy. By providing you with a timetable where key submission dates are highlighted, we are encouraging you to develop your effectiveness throughout this course. These same skills extend to other courses and also to your overall ability to maximise your achievement whilst studying at this University. However they also apply to every other aspect of your current and future life. Many aspects of what you achieve in your life can be significantly influenced by you! For this reason, the in-course work that forms part of Parasite Biology 3 is specifically geared to self-led learning.

6) Technical and Practical Skills: In order to continue in a scientific career it is important that you not only understand the conceptual basis of how experiments are designed and carried out but also that you have the underpinning practical skills required for employability. Our course has an important lab component that is designed to prepare you for this, as well as to assist you in your future Honours course projects. In particular the practical aspects cover the diverse range of methods used in modern parasite research, providing exposure to modern approaches and concepts in the field, these classes being led by research active staff and supervised by research active demonstrators, usually at PhD level. Both University staff and researchers from the Moredun Research Institute take part, providing a range of exposure to basic and applied research concepts and methods. The lab skills you develop from your practical sessions, in critical observation, investigation and interpretation, careful recording, quantification and analysis, should serve you well in any future employment. They will also complement your course material, enhancing your understanding of basic concepts in parasite research.
Course organiserDr Francisca Mutapi
Course secretaryMr Angus Galloway
Tel: (0131 6)51 3689
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