MSci Pharmacology / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Advanced Immunology (E)

Course unit fact file
Unit code BIOL31371
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? No


This Unit builds directly on the second year pre-requisite 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


• 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.

The unit will be organised in four sections that will lead you from 1) barrier and first line innate responses, to 2) 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 that will include the role of NK cells, innate lymphoid and innate-like lymphoid cells, cell dynamics and specialisations required at barrier surfaces as exemplified by the gut.



Employability skills

Group/team working
Group collaboration through discussion on the online community learning forum.
Engaging with primary literature; analysing and discussing scientific concepts.
Written communication
Discussion on the online community learning forum; essay-based summative exam.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 100%

Two essays (All questions worth the same marks; questions will be organised in two sections; 3 questions per section; one question to be answered from each section)

Feedback methods

• 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 self-reflection on examiner marking comments and examiner report.

Recommended reading

Recommended: Janeway's Immunobiology (Parts I-IV), by Murphy & Weaver, Garland Science, 10th edition (2022)  
Optional: Kuby Immunology, (Chpts 1-14), (8th edition, 2018), written by Stranford, Owen, Jones and Punt (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 2.7
Lectures 18
Independent study hours
Independent study 79.3

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Kathleen Nolan Unit coordinator

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