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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Deanery of Biomedical Sciences : Biomedical Sciences

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

Course Outline
SchoolDeanery 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.
Course description The broad intentions and outcomes of the course are as follows:

1) 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.
2) To describe how the mammalian immune system detects and kills infecting microorganisms.
3) To overview the processes by which infection can result in disease and immune pathology, and the consequences of failing to control infection
4) 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.

The course will start by giving an overview of infection, and 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 microorganisms allows them to infect, survive and expand within their host, and the consequences of failing to control infection (Section 4: Microorganism physiology and infection). The course will then discuss the cells of the immune system, and the mechanisms by which they control and kill infectious microbes (Section 5: How does the immune system control infection?). Finally, the course will cover how we are able to harness and use microbes and the immune system for our own goals (Section 6: Harnessing microbes and the immune system). Including environmental and industrial uses of microbes, and how infections and diseases can be controlled through 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.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2016/17, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 28, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 3, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 5, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 1, Summative Assessment Hours 3, Other Study Hours 5, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 151 )
Additional Information (Learning and Teaching) Online Tutorial
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: open question and multiple choice questions
Feedback Formative feedback: Lecture Review Questions
For each lecture we will release 4-5 review questions on Learn covering the key points of the lecture. The aim of the questions is to help you learn the main points of the lectures during the course, and there is unsupervised time allocated at the end of the main sections for you to complete them (Section Review sessions 1-5). They will take the format of electronic questions (e.g. MCQ), and are not marked. They are meant as a learning tool and once you have answered the questions you will be given the correct answers with an explanation behind the answer.
As they are meant to aid learning of lecture material during the course, and are not a final exam revision tool, they will only be available on Learn for 14 days after the lecture. Whilst they will tend to focus on the main lecture points, they are not a comprehensive lecture review. They are designed to form a starting point for further and more comprehensive reading around the lecture, and to catch any misunderstandings early in the course. If answering the questions highlights an area you don¿t understand then please take the time to contact the relevant lecturer. The questions will be released on Learn after their respective lectures.
We strongly encourage you to complete the questions as they will help you learn the key lecture material at the time of the lecture and allow you to check that you understand the main lecture points. Completing the questions will help you follow the later sections of the course, and make your final revision easier.

Assessment feedback:
We will endeavour to give you feedback on your performance in a prompt manner throughout the course, in a variety of ways. For each piece of formally assessed in-course work you will receive your mark within three weeks of submission. For the practicals, a debriefing session will take place after the last group has completed the assessment at which feedback will be given to the whole class. For the literature comprehension test generic feedback will be sent to each group when the marks are released.
Any student who would like individual feedback on an assessment should contact the Course Administrator who will arrange a meeting with the marker.
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
Microbiology (general):
¿ Madigan, M.T., Martinko, J.M., and Parker, J. (2003) Brock Biology of Microorganisms, 11th (2005) or 12th (2009) edition, Prentice-Hall International. Noreen and Kenneth Murray Library QR41.2Bro. The 9th and 10th editions of this text are also sufficiently up-to-date for most purposes.
¿ Alternative: Perry, J.J., Staley, J.T., and Lorey, S.L. (2002) Microbial Life, Sinauer Associates. Noreen and Kenneth Murray Library FolioQR41.2Per. or its successor Staley, Gunsalus, Lory & Perry (2007) Microbial Life, 2nd edition. Microbiology, an evolving science, second edition, by J. Slonczewski and J. Foster, published by Norton.
Other recent microbiology textbooks should also cover substantially similar information. The general microbiology textbooks above also contain useful introductory material related to viruses, fungi and the immune system but are not by themselves sufficient for the material in this course.

¿ Read, ND, Boddy L (2010) Introducing the fungi. In From Another Kingdom: the Amazing World of Fungi (ed. L Boddy, M Coleman), pp. 7-22. Royal Botanic Gardens at Edinburgh. On Reserve
¿ Carlile, M.J., Watkinson, S.C., and Gooday, G.W. (2001) The Fungi. 2nd edition. Academic Press, London. Noreen and Kenneth Murray Library QK603Car.

¿ Flint, S.J., Enquist, L.W., Ranciello, V.R., and Skalka, A.M. 2004. Principles of Virology: Molecular Biology, Pathogenesis, and Control of Animal Viruses. 2nd Ed. Main Library QW160Pri, Vet Library QR360Pri.
¿ Fields¿ virology (2007) 5th ed. Philadelphia : Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. Location: Main Library- Ground floor Shelfmark: QW 160 Fie 2007.

We recommend you use the text by Flint as the primary reference for viruses. To gain more detail on specific aspects you may find it useful to refer to the relevant sections in Field¿s virology.

¿ Sompayrac, L. (2012): How the Immune System Works, 4th edition, Wiley-Blackwell. Main Library, and electronic copies are available for download at
¿ Abbas, AK et al. (2014): Basic Immunology: Functions and Disorders of the Immune System, 4th edition, Elsevier Saunders. Main Library and KB Library.
The text by Sompayrac is the main immunology text for this course and provides a great overview of the immune system and is particularly strong at explaining how the different aspects of immunity work together as a system. To gain more detail on specific aspects of the immune system then you might find it useful to study relevant chapters of Abbas¿ Basic Immunology.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Course organiserDr Matthew Taylor
Tel: (0131 6)51 3625
Course secretaryMr Kevin Mcarthur
Tel: (0131 6)51 1824
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