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Mechanisms of Disease - BIO00055I

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  • Department: Biology
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Katie Smith
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: I
  • Academic year of delivery: 2023-24

Module summary

Heart disease, cancer, diabetes and lung infection represent major challenges for modern medicine globally. In this module, we will examine the mechansims of these diseases and key research methodologies. This module uses these exemplar models of human disease to provide an in-depth and integrated understanding of pathophysiology. Students will further develop analytical and team skills through critically evaluating scientific literature and discussing experimental design in workshop activities. This module will prepare students for a range of Stage 3 modules, in particular ‘Mechanisms to Therapies’.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 1 2023-24

Module aims

This module will provide an integrated understanding of how physiological processes are altered in disease states and how this is identified at a fundamental and mechanistic level, through to diagnostics and epidemiology. The module will be separated into four pathologies: diabetes, viral lung infections, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer, which have been chosen to cover a range of etiologies and target tissues. Alongside lectures, students will attend workshops to develop transferable skills, including teamwork, critical thinking and data interpretation. This module will conclude with an exploration of how we can translate our knowledge of pathogenic mechanisms to disease treatment and therapy.

Module learning outcomes

Students who successfully complete this module will have the ability to:

1. Explain the genes, molecules and cellular mechanisms of exemplar human diseases.

2. Discuss the application of epidemiological findings to public health and the control of disease.

3. Identify and explain appropriate scientific techniques and experimental approaches.

4. Work independently and in groups to understand experimental approaches and critically evaluate current scientific literature in relation to globally impactful modern diseases.

Module content


Task Length % of module mark
Online Exam -less than 24hrs (Centrally scheduled)
Mechanisms of Disease
6 hours 100

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information



Task Length % of module mark
Online Exam -less than 24hrs (Centrally scheduled)
Mechanisms of Disease
6 hours 100

Module feedback

Marks for all summative assessments will be made available to you and your supervisor via e:vision. Feedback will be either individual or cohort-level, depending on the assessment format. You should take the opportunity to discuss your marks and feedback with your supervisor.

For exam-style summative assessment, model answers will be provided for all questions along with cohort-level feedback indicating how students answered questions in general. Marks achieved per question will be added to your script.

For coursework assessments (eg. reports or essays) you will receive individual feedback on your work. This will usually be in the form of a feedback sheet that will include suggestions for further improvement.

During the teaching of the module you will receive formative feedback that may be at a whole class or individual level. Such feedback may include: model answers and discussion of workshop questions, summaries of performance in practicals, VLE-based quizzes, individual spoken comments during workshops, individual written comments on formative work.

Indicative reading

These are available through the VLE module site.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.