Accessibility statement

Pathogens - BIO00086H

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  • Department: Biology
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Pegine Walrad
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25

Module summary

Infectious agents impact our daily lives in ways we are only beginning to predict and properly control. This module is divided into 4 blocks examining transmission, molecular biology and host:pathogen interactions of human-infectious agents of global importance. We will focus on active research areas including pathogen cell biology, identification of key virulence factors, drug resistances and other pathogen survival strategies. This module will include discussion of experimental design, model systems, techniques, and data analysis. Each block will highlight shared themes/paradigms where appropriate.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 1 2024-25

Module aims

The aim of the module is to develop understanding of pathogen biology by exploring characteristics which both promote pathogen survival and make the pathogens vulnerable to targeted drug design. We will examine molecular interactions and pathways between the host and infectious agents, and how this can lead to disease or protection. The importance of genomics and evolution in understanding pathogen biology will be explored. Recent progress in combative strategies such as vector targeting, vaccine and drug design will be discussed. Skills in data interpretation and experimental design will be developed through critical engagement with key literature. A range of pathogens will be considered including viruses, bacteria and eukaryotic parasites) allowing a comparative view of key biological aspects such as genetics, survival strategies, molecular pathways, diagnostics and pathology.

Module learning outcomes

Students who successfully complete this module will be able to:

Discuss the value of genomics to solving problems in pathogen biology and disease.

Compare the genetics of different pathogens and how this both promotes pathogen survival and may present useful vulnerabilities.

Illustrate fundamental concepts in pathogen biology with examples from current research in the field.

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

Comprehend and critically assess experimental data and approaches in infectious disease literature.


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

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Online Exam -less than 24hrs (Centrally scheduled)
Pathogens Online Exam
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.