BSc Developmental Biology with a Modern Language

Year of entry: 2022

Course unit details:
Advanced Immunology (E)

Unit code BIOL31371
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


This Unit builds directly on the second year pre-requsite Immunology Unit (BIOL21242). Having established core principles and learnt about different elements of the immune system, you will now look at how these elements interconnect to function as a co-ordinating network of interactions to achieve safe and effective surveillance and protection against a wide range of potentially harmful challenges in a healthy immune system.



Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Parasitology BIOL21252 Pre-Requisite Recommended
Principles of Infectious Disease BIOL21192 Pre-Requisite Recommended
Immunology BIOL21242 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
BIOL21242 is a pre-requisite of BIOL31371

BIOL31371 is a compulsory pre-requisite for BIOL31802. While BIOL31371 looks at how the immune arsenal is co-ordinated and controlled to provide safe protective immunity, BIOL31802 (Immune response in disease) looks at situations where perturbations in this healthy situation can alternatively lead to disease.


• To expand on key principles of recognition, discrimination and triggering of appropriate immune responses introduced in year 2

• To highlight how different molecular and cellular elements of the immune system interact to achieve a phased, escalating response co-ordinated to provide safe and protective immunity

• To use mucosal immunity to illustrate the importance of specialisation of the immune response in different niche environments

Learning outcomes

By the end of this Unit you should be able to;

• use specific examples to explain concepts of immune recognition and discrimination at different levels of an immune response

• draw on current understanding to explain how recognition results in mounting of appropriate immune activity in a range of challenge and also non-challenge situations

• support and evidence discussion on current understanding of how different components of the immune system interact to bring about safe and appropriate immune protection

• reference challenges in mucosal tissue such as the gut to compare and contrast systemic and mucosal immunity



This Unit will build directly on the content of the compulsory pre-requisite unit, BIOL21242 (Immunology). While the focus in year 2 was on introducing different components of the immune system this unit will look more closely at how they are co-ordinated to achieve safe and protective immunity against a wide range of different challenges encountered in different tissue environments. At each level of the immune response, discrimination and recognition/sensing of challenge will be considered, and how this links to the phased recruitment and amplification of effector functions that are appropriately tailored to combat, and provide lasting protection against, the particular initiating challenge. Mucosal surfaces and in particular the gut will be used to illustrate differences in mucosal and systemic immunity, and highlight the importance of tissue environment in shaping the immune response.

Lectures will be organised in four sections that will lead you from 1) barrier and first line innate responses, to 2) dendritic cells and recruitment of adaptive responses, 3) generation of effective adaptive responses, including tolerance and memory, and then a final section, 4) looking at integration and co-ordination of responses which will include the role of NK cells, innate lymphoid and innate-like lymphoid cells, complement, cell dynamics and specialisations required at barrier surfaces as exemplified by the gut.


Employability skills

Group/team working
Group collaboration will be required for the interactive coursework feedback session and exhibited through discussion on the online community learning forum.
Engaging with primary literature; coursework essay plan; analysing and discussing scientific concepts.
Written communication
Coursework essay plan and peer feedback; discussion on the online community learning forum; essay based summative exam.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 5%
Written exam 95%

Written exam
Two hour written exam (worth 95% of the Unit mark): Two essays (2 out of 6 questions; one question from each of two sections, with three questions in each section, all questions worth the same marks)

Other (linked coursework learning activities)

A 2 page essay plan for formative feedback (worth 3%), followed by an interactive lecturer-led feedback session, and a self-reflective mark review activity (worth 2%) - consisting of online mark review of the student’s own essay plan and the plan of a peer, justified in relation to the SBS exam marking criteria

Feedback methods

• Written formative feedback on the coursework essay plan.

• Group-based interactive feedback session linked to the course work activity.

• Self-reflective feedback during the mark reviews.

• Online ’Community Learning Forum’, incorporating anonymous submission and discussion, a tag system to target posts to the attention of individual lecturers and regular monitoring by the Unit Coordinator up to the Unit exam.

• Post-exam feedback clinic and examiners report.

Recommended reading

Recommended: Janeway's Immunobiology,  (Parts I-IV), by Murphy & Weaver, Garland Science, 9th edition (2016) [Janeway's Immunobiology, (Parts I-IV), Recommended: Kenneth Murphy, Garland Science, 8th edition (2012) - if the 2016 version is not available use this one]
Optional: Kuby Immunology, (Chpts 1-14), (8th edition, 2018), written by Punt, Stranford, Jones and Owen (MacMillan Education),

Optional: The Immune System (4th edition, 2015), written by Peter Parham (Garland Science).

Available as ebooks through the University of Manchester library;

Recommended: Roitt’s Essential Immunology (13th edition, 2017), written by Delves, Martin, Burton and Roitt (Wiley-Blackwell).

Immunology is a fast moving field and this should be appreciated when consulting both primary literature and text book information. Further references will be provided in lectures.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 2
Lectures 18
Independent study hours
Independent study 62

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Kathleen Nolan Unit coordinator

Return to course details