Parasites and Pathogens
Parasites and Pathogens 2022-23
School Of Natural Sciences
Module - Semester 1
The module tries to give a representation of the diversity of parasites and pathogens. It focuses on the biological features. Often it starts with parasites and pathogens of humans to develop their presence in other animal species. It aims to introduce an evolutionary perspective. It shows that human and animal evolution dependent heavily on the contribution of pathogens. It shows that parasites and pathogens might have beneficial effects as well.
The lectures will contain a selection of the following topics • Introduction – Resources, what is new • Pathogenesis – Pathogenesis cycle; asymptomatic infections; forms of transmission with examples of major human pathogens and parasites; cancer cells as infectious parasites; environmental effect on parasite diversity • Malaria of humans and animals – most important parasitic disease; biology of Alveolata; malaria life cycle; malaria and climate change; premunition • Coccidia – Eimeria, specificity of parasites; Hepatozoon transmission; Cryptosporidium and drinking water quality; Toxoplasma, premunition, behaviour alterations, environmental impact • Schistosomiasis – biology of flatworms, life cycle of blood flukes • Leishmaniasis – a range of symptoms, importance of Th1 and Th2 immune response • Nematodes (round worms) – filariases, dog heartworm, elephantiasis, river blindness, summer bleeding, mansonelliases • from whitewater to Tyrannosaurus – Giardia and Trichomonas, amitochondriates, biology of diplomonads and parabasalids • Beneficial effects of bacteria, viruses, and parasites – probiotics, caries; beneficial viruses; parasites and endemicity of animals, nagana, brain worm; hygiene hypothesis and atopic diseases, wipworms, hookworms; schistosomes against artherosclerosis; Clostridium and cancer • Diarrheal diseases – food poisoning in humans and animals, keriorrhoea, rotavirus, winter-vomiting disease, E. coli (EPEC, EIEC, ETEC, EHEC), Cholera, Salmonella, Campylobacter, Clostridium perfringens, Clostridium botulinum in humans and animals • Cancers – infectious cancers, cancers as autonomous parasites • Sea star wasting syndrome – the difficulties in finding the cause of an infectious disease • Fungi – about climate change, human mycobiome, Candida auris, coffee, sea turtle eggs, poppy blight, Witches’ broom, bananas, trees, ergot, frog and amphibian killer, salamanders, bats, snakes, bottle-nosed dolphins, ringworms, and zombie ants • Tuberculosis – how archaic humans infected animals • HIV and AIDS – epidemiology, origins, pathogenesis • Influenza – Myxoviridae and hemagglutination, influenza in animals • SARS, MERS, and COVID-19 – Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, Corona viruses, clinical perspective of an infection and difficulty of identifying new pathogens, epidemiology of a contagious disease • Host pathogen evolution, how parasites and pathogens shaped the evolution of animals and humans • Plaques, epidemics, and biological warfare
The module has two practicals • Fish parasites: dogfish and mackerel practical • Medical parasitology, identifying parasites under the microscope
The assessment comes in three parts.
The first part of the assessment links to the content of the lectures. The students formulate ten multiple choice questions for a selection of ten lectures of their choice. Model questions are provided. This part of the assessment is scheduled close to the end of the module so that students have a large number of lectures to choose from.
In the second part of the assessment, the students develop in depth knowledge on a subject of their choice related to parasites and pathogens in the widest sense that has been agreed with the module organizer. To inspire students, a list of past subject topics is provided. They write an extended essay on that topic. After the very first lecture, students submit their ideas for a topic by e-mail to the module organizer, who then provides feedback to improve the topic area or approves it. This allows the students to work on their assessment from day one. The students than compose a list with ten bullet points that covers the content of the extended essay plus a list of ten key publications that form the backbone of the subject topic. The students submit the two lists for feedback to the module organizer. This is meant to provide constructive feedback and keep students working on the assessment early on in the module. The students have the whole length of the module to work on this extended essay.
In the third part of the assessment, based on the knowledge obtained through researching and writing the extended essay, the students propose an experiment in their topic area. This proposal is limited to half a page. This part assesses the ability to synthesize ideas out of knowledge. The proposal is submitted together with the extended essay.
The assessment covers the subject areas presented in the lectures but goes beyond this by including a topic area that covers the interest of an individual student. The assessment embraces the wide diversity of the lecture topics and in-depth understanding of the chosen topic.
The first practical is meant for unrestrained exploration and is therefore not assessed. The second practical shows examples of applied parasitology and is also not assessed.
Excellent Well-organized with high quality written English. The essay has a narrative (i.e., tells a story) guiding the reader through the different sections. The introduction leads from the wider, relevant background to the well-defined review. The essay should contain novel conclusions or yet unpublished, novel models/hypotheses deduced from the reviewed literature. Assumes the reader is not an expert in the field, technical & specialist terms are explained at first use. Tables and figures, if useful, are used in an effective way and are well incorporated into the text (with legends and references to them by number in the text). Figure/tables and their legends must be understandable without reading the main body of text. Text is well referenced (i.e., Harvard style). Excellent knowledge of research area with comprehensive understanding of the current boundaries of the subject. May include some material unknown to supervisor. Critical discussion of the findings in the context of the published literature, with original interpretation. Student addressed all feedback given to outline. A*: Essay could be published with few modifications. Displays signs of superior originality of thought or approach and insight. A+: Work may be published but needs re-writing. The student exceeds expectations in some of the general criteria and shows a complete command of the subject. Ideas/arguments are highly original. A: The work meets all general criteria. The student shows command of the subject but with minor gaps in knowledge. Ideas/arguments are mostly original. A-: The work fulfills most general criteria. The student has command of the subject but with some gaps in knowledge. Ideas/arguments are mostly original.
Good Good organization and clear English. Logical approach to the topic. A robust analysis of available evidence. Tables and figures, if useful, are mostly relevant and generally contribute to the development of the topic, and are well incorporated into the text (with legends and references to them by number in the text). Text is well referenced. Clear understanding of the main issues and good knowledge of research area with some new material. Some original interpretation. Student addressed almost all feedback given to outline. B+: The work matches and even exceeds some general criteria. Student has command of the subject. Some ideas/arguments are original. B: Work meets all the general criteria listed above and shows strong factual knowledge and understanding of the subject. Ideas/arguments are well presented but few are original. B-: Work meets most but not all general criteria. Student has strong factual knowledge with minor weaknesses in understanding. Most but not all ideas/arguments are well presented and few are original.
Threshold Poor standard of written English and/or essay is poorly organized. Poor essay. Poor referencing: incomplete list, little cross-referencing, lacking essential information such as dates, page numbers, incorrect style etc. References may lack new material and show an over-reliance on reviews, websites, etc. Tables and figures, if useful, may be absent or lack relevance and if present, may lack legends and references to them by number in the text. Insubstantial knowledge of the subject area. Work has many factual or computational errors. Student did not addressed feedback given to outline. D+: Work matches and exceeds some general criteria. Student has moderate factual knowledge with several weaknesses in understanding. A few ideas/arguments are presented but with weaknesses. D: Work matches general criteria. Student has limited factual knowledge with several weaknesses in understanding. Very few ideas/arguments are presented. D-: Work matches some general criteria. Student has limited factual knowledge with many weaknesses in understanding. Very few ideas/arguments are presented and with errors in logic/ presentation.
- Demonstrate a conceptual understanding of the interaction between parasites, host and their environment. (Biosciences benchmarks: 3.2 subject knowledge & 3.5 intellectual skills)
- Demonstrate a conceptual understanding of what unifies parasites and pathogens in pathogenesis cycles and evolution, and why parasites and pathogens cause disease or kill their host. (Biosciences benchmarks: 3.2 subject knowledge & 3.5 intellectual skills)
- Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of different parasites and pathogens and the diseases they cause. (Biosciences benchmarks: 3.2 subject knowledge & 3.5 intellectual skills)
- Develop an effective approach to exam revision by exploring the research interface. (Biosciences benchmark: 3.9 Self-management and professional development skills)
Extended Essay - outline Agree as soon as possible a title for your extended essay. The next step is to go to Web of Science, please do not use googleScholar, and find what is published on this subject. While looking at all these publications, you pick up 10 facts or questions that you would like to further investigate. These ten facts or questions become your ten bullet points. You link these bullet points with ten references, which will be your ten references. You put together the ten bullet points and the ten references and submit them in Blackboard. Then the module organizer will tell you whether or not you are on the right track. The ten bullet points are meant to become the subheadings of your Extended Essay. While writing your Extended Essay, you identify a question that you would like to investigate in an experiment. This becomes your half-page Proposal.
Student written MCQ's Write 10 MCQs with 5 options each based on 10 lectures. MCQs on concepts and understanding, not on recall facts.
Extended Essay -Final Word limit The module is 20 credits. The Essay and Proposal should reflect 160 notional learning hours-worth of research, thinking, and writing. Bangor University sets a maximum of 5,000 words for 20 credits. The Essay accounts for 45 % of the mark, which sets the maximum for the Essay at 2,250 words. The Proposal of an experiment on the subject of the Essay is strictly limited to one page, which comes down to a maximum of roughly 375 words, aim for roughly half a page or 200 words. Information retrieval Use Web of Science, not Google Scholar. Use “All Databases” in Web of Science, not the default of “Web of Science Core Collection”, you would miss out on half of the biology literature. Google Scholar contains lots of predatory articles that should not be used. Do not use websites as primary sources unless in exceptional circumstances. Use subheadings It is often helpful to divide the essay with the help of subheadings. Feel free to add at the beginning a table of contents. Illustrations Be encouraged to use illustrations, graphs, diagrams, schemes, especially original work. Where helpful, make tables. Format Use a font size of 11 or 12. Use a line spacing of 1.15 as it is easy to read. Use page numbers! Citation style Use Harvard style: author and year in the text. Reference style Use any style that contains at least the first author, the full title of the article and the name, year, volume, and pages or article number of the journal. Do not use any links! Do not use doi’s. If in doubt, follow the College of Natural Sciences Guide to citing references. Make sure that all references are in exactly the same style.
Experimental Proposal - Final You would like to propose a novel experiment, an experiment that would be reasonably doable as part of an MSc or PhD, an experiment for which funding would be available. I would like you to explain in a few sentences why you would like to do the experiment, meaning to formulate a hypothesis or to explain the gap in knowledge which you would like to fill. I would like you explain in another few sentences, how you would do the experiment without going into too much technical detail. The whole proposal should be around half a page or 200 words, with an absolute maximum of one page. The proposal does not have any references. In the proposal part you pretty much show that you have digested the information gathered in the extended essay.