Coronavirus (Covid-19) Information

Module MSE-3021:

Module Facts

Run by School of Medical Sciences

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Dr Rachel Hallett

Overall aims and purpose

This module will introduce concepts around the cause and response to clinically important infectious diseases at the molecular and cellular level, and an in depth appreciation of the role of the Medical Microbiology Laboratory in infectious disease diagnosis. Students will have the opportunity to develop further their skills of critical analysis of relevant literature and oral presentation to a scientific audience.

Course content

In semester 1, the module discusses the role of the Medical Microbiology Laboratory in infectious disease diagnosis. The topics of sterilisation, disinfection and aseptic technique will be examined and their role in establishing and maintaining a safe working environment. The concept of the Normal flora will be studied together with its role in disease and factors affecting microbial pathogenesis. Clinically significant micro-organisms involved in infectious disease of all major and minor organ systems will be addressed, together with the host's defence against infection and the increased susceptibility of the immune compromised host. The principles and mode of action of classes of chemotherapeutic agents, the efficacy of antibiotics in the host and techniques used to measure antibiotic susceptibility in vitro will be examined, including the problem of health care associated infections, antibiotic resistance and cross infection. The microbiology of food and water and the role of the environment in infectious diseases will be considered. Techniques used to detect and identify micro-organisms including microscopy, culture, serology, gene amplification and recent automated methods will be described.

In semester 2, the topic of immunology will be revisited; the effect of a variety of common pathogens on normal cellular processes and the response by the innate and adaptive immune system will be discussed, along with the harnessing of the immune system in the development of vaccines. There will be significant use of relevant current journal articles and in depth review sessions to facilitate skills of critical analysis. The presentation of a synopsis of a piece of current research will form part of the module assessment.

Assessment Criteria


Category D (40%-49%):

Basic factual information only based on teaching notes, generally accurate but with errors or gaps.

The difference between the marks reflects the knowledge gaps and the weaknesses of the argument.

C- to C+

Category C (50%-59%):

Reasonably comprehensive coverage of learning outcomes, indicating generally accurate understanding, only based on lecture material and some core readings. Knowledge gaps and weaknesses in the argument.


Category B (60%-69%):

Comprehensive and accurate coverage of learning outcomes, showing good use of teaching material and core readings. Is able to demonstrate good knowledge of micropathology in infectious acquired disease and the role of the immune response.

Materials largely based on module content.


Category A (70%-100%):

Has sophisticated knowledge of micropathology in infectious, acquired disease and the role of the immune response. Very comprehensive and accurate coverage of learning outcomes, and the ability to discuss specific examples, indicating that the student has gone beyond the core readings and explored the topic in depth.

Evidence of wider reading & critical thinking is required for A+ and A* marks.

Learning outcomes

  1. Describe the differences between innate and adaptive immunity.

  2. Demonstrate understanding of the role of infectious organisms in the cause of a range of pathologies in different body systems.

  3. Describe and contrast, with examples, the action of common infectious agents at the cellular and molecular level.

  4. Outline the immunological principles involved in defence against infection.

  5. Critically evaluate current research into aspects of pathogenic infectious disease.

  6. Design and present a review of a piece of current relevant research.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Written exam - essay questions 60
Conference-style Oral Presentation 40

Teaching and Learning Strategy


Interactive lectures in semester 1; preparation for written exam.


Seminars, groupwork and formative assignment in semester 2; preparation for oral presentation.

Private study 168

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.
  • 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