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Advanced topics in Pathogens & Pathogenesis - BIO00086H

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  • Department: Biology
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Pegine Walrad
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2022-23

Module summary

Infectious agents impact our daily lives in ways we are only beginnning to predict and properly control. This module examines current molecular biology, host:pathogen interactions and pathogenesis of 3 broad and critical categories of infectious agents; pathogenic bacteria, eukaryotic parasites and viruses. We will focus on active research areas including using evolutionary genomics to isolate key virulence factors and discover how drug resistances arises, key pathogen biology and examine interactions between pathogens and our immune system. This will include discussion of comparative experimental design, model systems, techniques, and data analysis with expectation of up to 2 papers assigned to be read prior to each lecture.

Related modules

Pre-requisite modules

Co-requisite modules

  • None

Prohibited combinations

  • None

Additional information

BIO00011I Cell Biology and BIO00055I Understanding Health and Disease are recommended modules.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Autumn Term 2022-23 to Summer Term 2022-23

Module aims

1. Provide a deeper comprehension of evolutionary genomics as an essential tool in combating and categorising infectious disease.

2. Explore unique genetic characteristics which both promote pathogen survival and make the pathogens vulnerable to targeted drug design.

3. Examine interactions between the host and infectious agents, and how this can lead to disease or protection.

4. Interpret experimental data to support or disprove current theories behind infectious disease causes, spread and combative strategies.

5. Explore key signaling pathways for pathogen survival and pathogenesis; what makes them essential versus tangential pathways, how do we identify and use these toward vaccine and drug design.

6. Build a strong capacity for comparisons of key biological aspects, genetics, survival strategies, diagnostics and resultant disease of different pathogens.

Module learning outcomes

1. Summarise the principles of genomics and evolution, and discuss the value of genomics to solving problems in pathogen biology and disease.

2. Compare the genetics of different pathogens and how this both promotes pathogen survival and presents a useful vulnerability.

3. Explain key terminology in pathogen biology and host immunity with a focus on host:pathogen interactions.

4. Illustrate fundamental concepts pertinent to infectious agents with cutting edge examples from current research in the field.

5. Comprehend and critically assess experimental data and approaches in immunology and infection research.

6. Critique different pathogen survival strategies; the molecular, cellular and regulatory pathways involved.


Task Length % of module mark
Online Exam - 24 hrs (Centrally scheduled)
Online Exam
8 hours 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Online Exam - 24 hrs (Centrally scheduled)
Online Exam
8 hours 100

Module feedback

Cohort-level feedback will be provided on performance in closed exams and made available via the VLE. Individual marks will be made available to you and your supervisor via e:vision. Exam scripts will be made available at the end of either the Spring or Summer terms. You should take the opportunity to discuss your marks and feedback with your supervisor.

During the teaching of the module you will receive feedback that may be at a whole class or individual level. Forms of 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.