BSc Biotechnology / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

Course unit details:
Toxins, Toxicants & Toxicity (E)

Unit code BIOL31602
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by School of Biological Sciences
Available as a free choice unit? No

Overview

This unit provides an insight into the molecular mechanisms by which toxic molecules cause damage and death. You will develop an understanding of the ways in which exposure to xenobiotics can cause adverse health effects, of how the toxic properties of certain compounds can be exploited for clinical and/or research benefit, and of the challenges faced by the pharmaceutical industry in the development of novel, safe therapeutic drugs. You will learn about the mechanisms of cell death, understand how toxic substances damage organs and body systems, be familiar with the concept of toxicity exploitation for beneficial reasons and understand the phenomenon of oxidative stress.

 

Pre/co-requisites

Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Clinical Drug Development BIOL21302 Pre-Requisite Recommended

Aims

This course provides an insight into the molecular mechanisms by which toxic molecules cause damage and cell death. It will foster understanding of the ways in which exposure to xenobiotics can cause adverse health effects, of how the toxic properties of certain compounds can be exploited for clinical and/or research benefit, and of the challenges faced by the pharmaceutical industry in the development of novel, safe therapeutic drugs

Learning outcomes

 

On completion of the course, it is expected that students will be able to:

•       understand the concept of toxicity.

•       understand how reactive oxygen species are generated in living systems, and the consequences of oxidative stress.

•       describe the molecular mechanisms of cell death

•       explain the mechanisms of action of example bacterial toxins and describe their use in new therapeutics

•       understand the sensitivity of major body systems (the immune system, the nervous system and the cardiovascular system) and key organs (liverand kidney) to toxic molecules.

  • understand, and be able to describe the concepts of Hazard and Risk from a toxicological perspective.

•       be familiar with the concept of the exploitation of toxicity for beneficial purposes.

Syllabus

•       Free radicals and oxidative stress

•       Mechanisms of cell death

•       Toxicity towards major body systems (immune system, cardiovascular system and nervous system)

•       Toxicity towards organs (kidney and liver)

•       Microbial toxins and their uses

•       Selective neurotoxins and their uses

•       Hazard and risk assessment

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Analysis of research papers in background reading. Online questions.
Oral communication
Students invited to answer and ask questions in lectures. Interactive feedback session in the final lecture slot.
Problem solving
Online short answer questions.
Research
Researching background information for essay plan; background reading in support of lecture material.
Written communication
Submission of detailed essay plan. Essay and short answer questions in exam.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 90%
Written assignment (inc essay) 10%

Written examination

A 2 hour exam consisting of 2 parts, each worth 50% of the examination marks. In each part, students write 1 essay from a choice of 3

 

Written Assignment

Submission of a detailed 1-page essay plan worth 10% of the total marks.

 

Feedback methods

Feedback from answers to non-assessed online short answer questions will be provided via Blackboard. Students will also receive individual feedback on assessed essay plans via Blackboard, and general feedback in the final lecture of the course. An online discussion forum will be available.

Recommended reading

General background information can be found in :

Hodgson (2010) A Textbook of Modern Toxicology (Hoboken John Wiley & Sons Inc.)Chapter 1. (Background).

Rang & Dale’s Pharmacology (9th Ed, 2020, Elsevier Churchill Livingston) Chapters 10 and 58. (Background).

Individual lecturers will provide reading lists to support the material covered in their lectures.

Study hours

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

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Katherine Hinchliffe Unit coordinator

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