MSc Nanomedicine by Research / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Introduction to Nanomedicine

Course unit fact file
Unit code BIOL64511
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? No


The Introduction to Nanomedicine Unit is designed to teach students main concepts in nanomedicine research and cover the most exciting and promising clinical applications. In particular focus will be on using nanomaterials for the delivery of therapeutic molecules, including mRNA vaccine against COVID-19. We aim to provide in-depth understanding of the impact of nanomaterial’s synthesis and characterisation and biological effects on future therapeutic applications, as well as to explain how unique properties of nanomaterials (liposomes, carbon-based and 2D materials predominantly) could be exploited in bioimaging, cancer therapy and diagnosis as well as for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. We 
will employ a series of lectures delivered by the experts in the field to generate a multidisciplinary training environment and transfer knowledge in specialist areas. 
The unit is delivered by highly skilled academic staff based in the Nanomedicine Lab, Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health. As lectures are delivered by staff members who are internationally recognised experts in their field, students will receive a state-of-the-art overview of new developments and emerging concepts and technologies in this rapidly developing field. Students are encouraged to interact as much as possible with lecturers by asking questions and participating in discussions around latest developments in nanomedicine. Students will be asked to use the knowledge gained from the lectures and independent study to propose an original nanotechnology-based solution to an unmet clinical need (50% of the final unit mark). This is conceived as group work, finalised by a 15 min presentation where each member of the group will deliver a 5 to 7 minute talk (dependent on the size of the group). Furthermore, as a summative assessment students will sit a short answer exam. The assessment will take place in the beginning of December and will account for 50% of the final unit mark. 
The Unit will run in Semester 1, in October and November while the assessment will take place in December.


The unit aims to: 
-    Introduce nanomedicine related topics and concepts through a series of lectures in order to provide students with an in-depth understanding of nanomedicine, biological effects of nanomaterials and their exciting therapeutic applications. More specifically, we aim to: - Describe how nanotechnology can be used for the delivery of therapeutics (including COVID19 vaccine and in cancer diagnosis and therapy), bioimaging and for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, 
-    Explain principles of using nanomaterials for tissue targeting, 
-    Demonstrate the effects of nanomaterials and nanomaterials-based therapeutic complexes within the biological milieu, 
-    Describe limitations and opportunities related to using nanomaterials-based therapies, 
-    Illustrate the latest advances in nanomedicine,  
-    Introduce the knowledge and the skills to understand concepts, formulate ideas and translate these to clinical situations, needed for a career in nanomedicine research, 
-    Equip students with the knowledge to propose original way to solve a clinically relevant problem through nanomedicine-based approach. 

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding 

1.    Critically understand the principles and key concepts in nanomedicine and the methodology used in nanomedical research, 
2.    Explain the development and use of nanomaterials (in particular liposomes, carbon based and 2D materials) in medicine (with focus on using nanomaterials for the delivery of therapeutics, including mRNA vaccine against COVID-19, biomarker discovery and treatment of cancer and neurodegenerative diseases), 
3.    Appraise the latest advances in the design of nanoscale drug delivery systems and targeting strategies, 
4.    Explain  the principles of nanotechnology used for biomedical imaging, 
5.    Critically explore the concept of using nanoscale devices in bioelectronics and electroceuticals development, 
6.    Systematically explore nano-bio interactions (at the cellular and whole organism levels), 
7.    Appraise the importance of the interactions of nanomaterials-based systems with the physiological environment, 
8.    Evaluate key principles of nanosafety and nanotoxicology,  
9.    Describe the clinically available nanomaterials-based products, and those currently in clinical trials, 
10.    Describe the latest advances in using nanomaterials to address unmet clinical need, 
11.    Explain the ethical and societal dilemmas around use of nanotechology in medicine. 

Intellectual skills 

12.   Apply several research disciplines and technologies to address a specific clinical problem using nanomedicinebased approach. 

Practical Skills 

13.   Present new facts and concepts whilst at the same time discuss the specific topic in the broader context of Nanomedicine. 

Transferable skills 

14.    Plan, critically reflect and evaluate learning  
15.    Independently gather, synthesise and organise material from various sources (including library, electronic and online resources), and critically evaluate its significance; 
16.    Schedule tasks in order of importance, 
17.    Use personal resources effectively to meet challenges, 
18.    Maintain independence of thought and be self-reliant, 
19.    Work independently and show capacity for self-discipline, motivation and diligence, 
20.    Show capacity for self-appraisal, reflection and time management.



Teaching and learning methods

Students will receive 30 hours of lectures delivered by highly skilled academic staff members, all being worldwide recognised experts in their field of research. Teaching material will focus on the main concepts in nanomedicine, biological effects and potential therapeutic applications of nanomaterials (nanomaterials used for the delivery of therapeutic molecules, including delivery of mRNA vaccine against COVID-19, for the discovery of biomarekers, for bioimaging purposes and in the treatment of cancer and neurodegenerative disorders). In addition, specific examples of on-going research in the field will also be covered. Students will be encouraged to discuss different aspects of the area covered and relate knowledge acquired with that from other modules to encourage multidisciplinary learning. 
Lectures will be delivered in a blended manner, as a combination of online (pre-recorded lectures followed by live face-to-face seminar style sessions where students will be able to ask questions and discuss lectures) and face-to-face lectures or fully through online sessions. Assessment will involve a group assignment (how to solve an unmet clinical need using a nanotechnology-based approach), where students will be expected to integrate knowledge from the taught material but also to conduct independent research across the literature. The assignment will be assessed through marking of a presentation prepared and delivered by groups, where each student will be expected to equally participate in preparation, delivery and discussion. Assessment can be done either online or face-to-face. Furthermore, as a summative assessment students will sit a short answer exam.  
Presentations from each lecture will be available on Blackboard as well as a list of relevant literature.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 50%
Written exam 50%

Team challenge (summative assessment) consisting of a 15 minute group presentation based on information provided in lectures. Each group (2 – 3 students) is required to present an innovative solution to a major clinical problem using nanomedical approach. The assessment will be scheduled in December. Groups should arrange to meet beforehand to brainstorm ideas, prepare power point presentation and practice showcasing their unique concept through independent research and critical thinking.  Each group 
will deliver a 15 min PowerPoint presentation to the assessors and should be prepared to answer the questions and discuss ideas. Each team member should be prepared to deliver 5 – 7 min of the presentation. 

Short answer exam (summative assessment). The exam will take place mid-December. 

Feedback methods

Panel of 3 – 5 academic staff members will assess the presentation (marking the content, presentation style, overall clarity and design of the slides, proposed idea and capacity of the students to answer the questions) and provide formal summative feedback with the assessment (students will be marked individually). Short answer exam will be marked by a member of staff, marking will be moderated.

Recommended reading

1.    Pelaz, B., Alexiou, C., Alvarez-Puebla, R.A., Alves, F., Andrews, A.M., Ashraf, S., Balogh, L.P., Ballerini, L., Bestetti, A., Brendel, C., Bosi, S., Carril, M., Chan, W.C.W., Chen, C., Chen, X., Chen, X., Cheng, Z., Cui, D., Du, J. and Dullin, C. (2017). Diverse Applications of Nanomedicine. ACS Nano, 11(3), pp.2313–2381.  
2.    Farjadian, F., Ghasemi, A., Gohari, O., Roointan, A., Karimi, M. and Hamblin, M.R. (2019). Nanopharmaceuticals and nanomedicines currently on the market: challenges and opportunities. Nanomedicine, 14(1), pp.93–126.  
3.    Donahue, N.D., Acar, H. and Wilhelm, S. (2019). Concepts of nanoparticle cellular uptake, intracellular trafficking, and kinetics in nanomedicine. Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews, 143, pp.68–96. 
4.    Youn, Y.S. and Bae, Y.H. (2018). Perspectives on the past, present, and future of cancer nanomedicine. Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews, 130, pp.3–11.  
5.    Hare, J.I., Lammers, T., Ashford, M.B., Puri, S., Storm, G. and Barry, S.T. (2017). Challenges and strategies in anti-cancer nanomedicine development: An industry perspective. Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews, 108, pp.25–38.  
6.    Golombek, S.K., May, J.-N., Theek, B., Appold, L., Drude, N., Kiessling, F. and Lammers, T. (2018). Tumor targeting via EPR: Strategies to enhance patient responses. Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews, 130, pp.17–38.  
7.    Riley, R.S., June, C.H., Langer, R. and Mitchell, M.J. (2019). Delivery technologies for cancer immunotherapy. Nature reviews. Drug discovery, 18(3), pp.175–196.  
8.    Cheng, Z., Zaki, A.A., Hui, J.Z., Muzykantov, V.R. and Tsourkas, A. (2012). Multifunctional Nanoparticles: Cost versus benefit of adding targeting and imaging capabilities. Science (New York, N.Y.), 338(6109), pp.903–910.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 30
Independent study hours
Independent study 120

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Sandra Vranic Unit coordinator

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