Module MSE-2014:
Human Immunology

Module Facts

Run by School of Medical Sciences

10 Credits or 5 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Dr David Pryce

Overall aims and purpose

This module is designed to deliver an overview of the key molecular, cellular and clinical aspects of the human immune system and immunological responses. Students will be provided with the opportunity to develop introductory knowledge and understanding of the genetics, molecular, cellular and clinical aspects of human immunology in control of infectious and 'non-infectious' diseases; such as autoimmune diseases and cancer.

This module is available to International exchange students of The College of Human Sciences

Please note This module is a core module of the School of Medical Sciences accredited Biomedical Sciences degree programs. As such students without appropriate pre-requisite background knowledge and understanding of human molecular and cellular biology may find the module content and assessments, challenging.

To enhance learning and understanding, lectures, tutorials and practical demonstrations are recorded using the Panopto system

Course content

The module covers three main areas of human immunology:

  • Key concepts of the development of the human immune system and the nature of human immune responses
  • Key concepts of Autoimmunity and Autoimmune Diseases, with focus on Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE).
  • Key roles of the immune system in cancer development and current Cancer Immunotherapies

Lectures and tutorials will present summaries of core chapters of the module reference text book and directed reading to key cutting edge review papers. The module will conclude with a discussion of the development and use of 'immunotherapies' for cutting-edge clinical treatments.

  • Basic Concepts in Immunology
  • Innate Immunity and induced Responses of Innate Immunity
  • Antigen Recognition by B-cell and T-cell receptors
  • The Generation of Lymphocyte Antigen Receptors
  • Antigen Presentation to T Lymphocytes
  • Signaling Through Immune System Receptors
  • The Development and Survival of Lymphocytes
  • T Cell-Mediated Immunity
  • The Humoral Immune Response
  • Dynamics of Adaptive Immunity
  • Failures of Host Defense Mechanisms
  • Autoimmunity
  • Manipulation of the Immune Response, via immunotherapy

Practical: The Practical will provide hands on experience in the generation and clinical interpretation of data derived from an ELISA analysis of serum samples derived from a patient diagnosed with the autoimmune disease Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE).

Assessment Criteria


Category A (70%-100%):

Completed assessments present very accurate relevant taught material, integrated with numerous directed outside core text-reading and some self-researched information sources. Essays, answers and reports present very coherent and well organised arguments that demonstrate excellent overall knowledge and understanding of all module material. Evidence of in depth critical thinking and wider reading are important for grades of A+ and above


Category B (60%-69%):

Completed assessments present overall good accurate relevant taught material, integrated with some directed core text outside-reading. Essays, answers and reports are well organised and structured, contain good coherent arguments, and demonstrate good overall knowledge and understanding of all module material.

C- to C+

Category C (50%-59%):

Completed assessments present relevant accurate taught material but may lack explanation and context. Statements are largely correct but not further supported. Essays, answers and reports are sufficiently coherent and well presented to demonstrate a sound understanding of module material.


Category D (40-49%):

Completed assessments present sufficient relevant accurate taught material to satisfy the learning outcomes of the module. Essays, answers and reports are sufficiently coherent and well presented to demonstrate threshold level 5 knowledge and understanding of module material.

Learning outcomes

  1. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the roles of the human immune system in cancer regulation and cancer immunotherapies

  2. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the development, regulation and effectiveness of the human innate and adaptive immune system in human health

  3. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the nature of Autoimmune disease and the use of immunoassays in diagnosis and prognosis of a clinically relevant autoimmune disease

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
REPORT Practical Report

An estimated 10 hours of notional effort is assigned to the practical report assessment. Full guidance on Report is available via the module Evernote site - click to view

EXAM End of Module Exam

The end of module exam will take place during the end of semester 1 examinations period. The exam will consist of 42 multiple choice questions (MCQ), an average of 6 questions per lecture An estimated 15 hours of notional effort is assigned to the examination assessment.


Teaching and Learning Strategy


Tutorials will have two formats.

  • Firstly, a 1hr class formative tutorial/assessment, consisting of MCQ style questions and example study methods for enhanced development of module material understanding
  • Secondly, a timetabled opportunity for students to discuss aspects of the module material with the module organiser. Topics can include any aspect of the lectures, assessments and/or self-researched outside reading

7 x 2hr Lectures, one per week

Private study

Self-directed background reading, data analysis and processing and assessment preparation

Practical classes and workshops

1 x 3hr Practical: Use of ELISA in Clinical diagnosis/prognosis of autoimmune disease


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others


Courses including this module

Optional in courses: