BSc Cognitive Neuroscience and Psychology

Year of entry: 2020

Course unit details:
Imaging in Biomedical Research (E)

Unit code BIOL31631
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by School of Biological Sciences
Available as a free choice unit? No

Overview

You will gain an understanding of how cutting edge imaging methods are used in medical, anatomical and life science research. Guided by recent publications you will learn about the type of research that can be addressed with each of the presented imaging techniques.The techniques covered will include; light microscopy, electron microscopy and fluorescence based imaging, computed tomography, radiography, super resolution microscopy, magnetic resonance imaging and positron emission tomography.

Aims

To provide students with an understanding of how cutting edge imaging methods are used in medical, anatomical and life science research. Guided by recent publications the students will learn about the type of research that can be addressed with each of the presented imaging techniques. The course will provide an understanding of the nature of the signal as well as spatial and temporal constraints.

Learning outcomes

  • Understand the differences in functional and anatomical imaging approaches
  • Be able to describe the nature of the signal and how it is detected and measured with each of the imaging techniques
  • Understand the spatial and temporal constraints of different imaging techniques
  • Appreciate the advantages and drawbacks of different imaging techniques
  • Be able to discuss which of the imaging methods covered in the course are suitable to address a given research problem

Syllabus

After a general introduction of terms and properties important to most imaging modalities, the initial lectures will discuss research at the sub-millimetre scale investigating cells and tissues in health and disease. This will include light microscopy, electron microscopy and fluorescence based imaging. From there, with increasing spatial scale, we will look at imaging of anatomical and functional structures in biomedical research. The course will finish with imaging methods that look at function and metabolism of the whole brain and the human body. Some of the methods covered are computed tomography, radiography, magnetic resonance imaging and positron emission tomography. The knowledge provided will form an essential foundation to many of the lab-based projects that rely on imaging in biomedical research.

eLearning activity

An e-learning module (10% of mark) in the form of multiple choice questions will supplement each research paper discussed to aid the students in understanding the significant contribution of these seminal pieces of research have made.

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Students should be able to analyse the imaging techniques covered in terms of the advantages and disadvantages of each. E-learning questions on the research papers discussed.
Oral communication
Research papers are discussed during the lecture and students are encouraged to verbally summarise the content of each paper. Time set aside at the end of each lecture for student questions and feedback.
Problem solving
Students should be able to discuss which of the imaging methods covered in the course is suitable to address a given research problem
Research
The course utilises review and research papers
Written communication
Students submit a 1000 word coursework essay and formative feedback is provided

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 10%
Written exam 90%

2 hour examination (90%) - essay questions,

Other - e-learning module (10%), essay (formative)

Feedback methods

Time is provided at the end of each lecture for questions and feedback from students. There is a dedicated discussion forum in Blackboard where students can address questions about the lecture material. We will provide formative feedback on a 1000 word hand written essay that is written in weeks 2 and 3 on an early topic in the course. The final session in the semester is a dedicated question and answer session that wraps up all the lectures and gives the opportunity for exam specific feedback. A mock essay exam with model answers is available.

Recommended reading

The course utilises review and research papers but the following texts can provide useful background information:

Recommended Reading

  1. Dhawan, AT, Medical Image Analysis, John Wiley and Sons Ltd, 2003, Background
  2. Guy, C & Ffytche, D, An Introduction to the Principles of Medical Imaging (Revised Edition), Imperial College Press, 2005, Background
  3. Hibbs, AR, Confocal Microscopy for Biologists, Plenum, 2004, Background
  4. Toga, M (eds.), Brain Mapping: The Methods, Academic Press, 2002, Background

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 2
Lectures 18
Independent study hours
Independent study 80

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Herve Boutin Unit coordinator

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