BSc Immunology / Overview

Year of entry: 2020

Course unit details:
Advanced Parasitology (E)

Unit code BIOL31792
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

The unit provides an in-depth covering of contemporary parasitology concentrating on the complex relationship between parasite and host. As such, it will be of interest to students who wish to learn more about these sorts of infectious diseases. Emphasis will be on the major parasites that cause human and animal disease covering molecular, cellular, in vitro and in vivo experimental approaches for the study of host parasite relationships. The strategies used by the hosts to control parasites and that the parasites use for immune evasion will form central themes together with an exploration of the consequences of parasitic disease for global health and current approaches of parasite control including vaccination.

 

Pre/co-requisites

Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Parasitology BIOL21252 Pre-Requisite Recommended
Immunology BIOL21242 Pre-Requisite Recommended
Advanced Immunology (E) BIOL31371 Co-Requisite Recommended

Aims

The aim of the unit is to provide an in-depth understanding of contemporary parasitology concentrating on the complex relationship between parasite and host. Emphasis will be on the major parasites that cause human and animal disease covering molecular, cellular, in vitro and in vivo experimental approaches for the study of host parasite relationships. The strategies used by the hosts to control parasites and that the parasites use for immune evasion will form central themes together with an exploration of the consequences of parasitic disease for global health and current approaches of parasite control including vaccination. The emphasis of the course will be research led highlighting recent breakthroughs in the field.

Learning outcomes

The students will be able to:

  • Appreciate the importance of parasitic infection in terms of global health.
  • Understand contemporary approaches used to study the major parasites of human importance.
  • Understand the broader consequences of parasite infection at both the individual host and host population level.
  • Describe the current challenges of parasite control and the progress of anti-parasitic vaccines.
  • Integrate data and information gained from different parasite species and from different experimental approaches to gain a clear overview of our current knowledge of parasitic disease and the major challenges that remain.

Syllabus

Protozoan and metazoan parasites are ubiquitous in both man and animals worldwide. The course will cover a variety of parasitic diseases concentrating on human disease as they constitute some of the great neglected diseases of the world as defined by the World Health Organisation. Lectures will cover different parasites at the molecular, cellular and population level concentrating on the active areas of contemporary research such as malaria vaccines, hookworm vaccines, the mechanisms underlying chronic parasite infections and the debilitating pathology caused by for example filariasis and schistosomiasis. The lectures will also examine the importance of parasitic infection to our current understanding of the hygiene hypothesis and how this impacts on global health in general. The course also considers new radical approaches for the treatment of many chronic illnesses such as inflammatory bowel disease and autoimmunity using parasites as therapeutic agents, and discusses the ethical issues it raises.

Employability skills

Analytical skills
The 500 word summary of a research paper requires critiquing primary source data and experimental results.
Oral communication
Students are encouraged to answer questions in class.
Written communication
500 word summary of research paper.

Assessment methods

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

Written examination (90%)

2 hour written examination consisting of two essays, (50% each; 2 out of 6 questions).

 

Written assignment (10%)

One piece of written work consisting of a 500 word summary of a recent, high impact, research paper on parasites chosen by the student from a choice of three provided by the unit coordinator.

Feedback methods

Individual summative feedback will be given on coursework that will contribute to the overall assessment. There will also be formative feedback in the form of a structured extensive question and answer session at the end of the course.

Recommended reading

Further reading will be primarily based upon up to date articles from the literature.

Background reading: A good Parasitology textbook which covers parasite lifecycles:

Parasitology. A conceptual Approach. Eric S.Loker and Bruce V.Hofkin. Garland Science.

Study hours

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

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Kathryn Else Unit coordinator

Return to course details