Natural Sciences

BIOM515 - Cellular Basis of Immunity (2016)

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MODULE TITLECellular Basis of Immunity CREDIT VALUE15
Number of Students Taking Module (anticipated) 5
DESCRIPTION - summary of the module content

In this module you will explore the science of immunology, including the major components of the immune system within the context of infectious diseases and vaccinology. You’ll develop an understanding of how antibodies are engineered and used in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases in contemporary medicine and environmental sciences. Lecture content is supported by animations and videos that illustrate key concepts of immunity including cellular interactions during the inflammatory response and the role of cytokines and chemokines as chemical messengers. Included in the module is a 3 hour practical class to enable you to gain hands-on experience of diagnostic immunoassays (ELISA and Lateral-Flow Device) that incorporate highly specific monoclonal antibodies and which have been commercialised by the course convenor though the establishment of a University of Exeter spin-out company.

In order to take this module you must have previously completed BIO2087 Genomics and Biotechnology, BIO2088 Advanced Cell Biology or BIO2089 Molecular Biology of the Gene.

BIOM515 is an optional module for MSci Natural Sciences students only. You cannot take this module if you have already taken BIO3078 Cellular Basis of Immunity.

AIMS - intentions of the module

This module aims to introduce you to the science of immunology. Key components of the immune system are explored in the context of infectious diseases (viral, bacterial, fungal and parasitic infections) and current research topics used to illustrate how antibodies are engineered and used in the diagnosis of pathogens and treatment of diseases in contemporary medicine and environmental sciences. Much of the content is research-led owing to the convenor’s research expertise in hybridoma technology, monoclonal antibody production and the generation and protection of intellectual property in the arena of medical diagnostics.

The skills you gain from lectures and seminars will develop or enhance your employability. Transferable skills to other sectors include: problem solving (linking theory to practice, responding to novel and unfamiliar problems, data handling), time management (managing time effectively individually and within a group), collaboration (taking initiative and leading others, supporting others in their work), self and peer review (taking responsibility for own learning, using feedback from multiple sources) and audience awareness (presenting ideas effectively in multiple formats).

INTENDED LEARNING OUTCOMES (ILOs) (see assessment section below for how ILOs will be assessed)

On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

Module Specific Skills and Knowledge

1. Evaluate critically our understanding of the innate and adaptive immune systems, antibody structure and function, and the immune response to infectious diseases
2. Describe in detail and analyse the defining characteristics of mouse hybridoma technology and other technologies e.g. phage display for monoclonal antibody generation and use in diagnostics and therapeutics
3. Explain the use of antibodies in various aspects of medicine and environmental sciences

Discipline Specific Skills and Knowledge

4. Evaluate in detail approaches to our understanding of immunology with reference to primary literature, reviews and research articles
5. Analyse in detail essential facts and theory in a sub-discipline of the biosciences
6.  Evaluate critically current research and advanced scholarship in the discipline, and evaluate and synthesise research-informed examples from the literature into written work
7. With limited guidance, deploy established techniques of analysis and enquiry within the biosciences

Personal and Key Transferable / Employment Skills and Knowledge

8. Communicate effectively arguments, evidence and conclusions using written means in a manner appropriate to the intended audience
9. Devise and sustain, with minimal guidance, a logical and reasoned argument with sound, convincing conclusions
10. Analyse and evaluate appropriate data with minimal guidance


SYLLABUS PLAN - summary of the structure and academic content of the module
  • Innate and adaptive immunity; the cellular and humoral components of the immune system;
  • myeloid, lymphoid and erythroid lineages of the haematopoietic stem cell;
  • Antigen presenting cells (APCs), dendritic cells, macrophages, neutrophils, eosinophils, basophils, Natural Killer cells, B-cells, CD4+ T-cells, CD8 T-cells;
  • Cytokines and the Inflammatory response;
  • MHC Class I and II molecules and T-cell receptors;
  • Antibody molecules – structure and function; the Complement system and complement activation;
  • The immune response to infection by viruses, fungi, bacteria and parasites;
  • Vaccinology;
  • Toll-like receptors and ITAMs;
  • Hybridoma technology and the production of murine monoclonal antibodies (mAbs);
  • Chimeric antibodies and Humanisation of mAbs for use as therapeutic agents in the treatment of human diseases;
  • Alternative procedures for the development of mAbs including Phage Display Technology
  • Immunoassay formats including Immunofluorescence, Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA), Immuno-gold electron microscopy, Western blotting, Lateral-Flow Technology;
  • Immunodiagnostics in Medicine including serological detection of opportunistic fungal pathogens of immuno-compromised patients;
  • Immunodiagnostics in Environmental studies including detection of emerging pathogens and monitoring of human allergenic, toxigenic and pathogenic fungi;
  • IP protection of antibodies and commercialisation through spin-out
Scheduled Learning & Teaching Activities 22.00 Guided Independent Study 128.00 Placement / Study Abroad 0.00
Category Hours of study time Description
Scheduled Learning and Teaching 15 Lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching 3 Lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching 3 Q&A sessions
Scheduled Learning and Teaching 1 Data handling practice session
Guided Independent Study 1 MCQ practice paper
Guided Independent Study 35 Web-based activities (animations and videos located on ELE) – preparation for lectures
Guided Independent Study 92 Guided reading of literature, literature research and revision


FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT - for feedback and development purposes; does not count towards module grade
Form of Assessment Size of Assessment (e.g. duration/length) ILOs Assessed Feedback Method
20 multiple choice questions 1 hour 1, 4, 5, 10 Model answers on ELE


Coursework 0 Written Exams 0 Practical Exams
Form of Assessment % of Credit Size of Assessment (e.g. duration/length) ILOs Assessed Feedback Method
Short answer test to involve data handling 40 1 hour 1-5, 7-8, 10 Model answers on ELE
Literature review 60 3000 words 1-6, 8-10 Written feedback on script


DETAILS OF RE-ASSESSMENT (where required by referral or deferral)
Original Form of Assessment Form of Re-assessment ILOs Re-assessed Time Scale for Re-assessment
Short answer test to involve data handling Short answer test 1-6, 8-10 August Ref/Def
Literature review Literature review 1-6, 8-10 August Ref/Def



Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 50%) you will be required to submit a further literature review. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of referral will count for 100% of the final mark and will be capped at 50%.

INDICATIVE LEARNING RESOURCES - The following list is offered as an indication of the type & level of
information that you are expected to consult. Further guidance will be provided by the Module Convener

The module will be based around primary research publications and review articles. The following Indicative basic reading list will also be useful as a source of information:

1. De Franco AL, Locksley RM, Robertson M (2007) Immunity: The Immune Response in Infectious and Inflammatory Disease. New Science Press Ltd. ISBN-13 978-0-9539181-0-2

2. Murphy K (2012) Janeway’s Immunobiology. 8th Edition. Garland Science, Taylor and Francis Group, London and New York. ISBN 978-0-8153-4243-4



Web based and Electronic Resources:


Other Resources:

Primary research publications and review articles associated with each lecture can be obtained from ELE. Also available on ELE are animations and videos used in the lectures.

Reading list for this module:

There are currently no reading list entries found for this module.

ORIGIN DATE Wednesday 09 March 2016 LAST REVISION DATE Wednesday 09 March 2016
KEY WORDS SEARCH Immunology, immunity, medicine, infectious diseases, cancer, therapeutics, antibody, diagnostics, theranostics