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BSc Biotechnology / Course details
Year of entry: 2021
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Course unit details:
Toxins, Toxicants & Toxicity (E)
|Unit level||Level 3|
|Teaching period(s)||Semester 2|
|Offered by||School of Biological Sciences|
|Available as a free choice unit?||No|
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.
|Unit title||Unit code||Requirement type||Description|
|Clinical Drug Development||BIOL21302||Pre-Requisite||Recommended|
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
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 (liver and 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.
• 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
- 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.
- Problem solving
- Online short answer questions (not compulsory)
- Researching background information for essay plan; background reading in support of lecture material.
- Written communication
- Submission of detailed essay plan. Essay questions in exam.
|Written assignment (inc essay)||10%|
Students will 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.
Feedback from answers to non assessed online short answer questions will be provided via Blackboard.
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 (recommended)
|Scheduled activity hours|
|Assessment written exam||2|
|Independent study hours|
|Katherine Hinchliffe||Unit coordinator|