Medicine, Nursing and Allied Health Professions



Module titleImmunopathology
Module codeCSC2008
Academic year2021/2
Module staff

Dr Chris Scotton (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

In this module you will explore how your immune system is vital for protection from disease. Immunology is also fundamental for preventing the spread of disease, through vaccination, as well as treating infectious conditions, autoimmune diseases and even cancer. You will learn to identify the major components of the immune system and how they relate to diseases which have major global impact, such as SARS-CoV-2 and schistosomiasis. You will also recognise how immunology has been exploited for the development of therapeutics (such as monoclonal antibodies and cancer immunotherapy) and for diagnostic assays. Through group tutorials, workshops and practical work (to develop basic practical/research skills and your ability to critically appraise data), you will evaluate the importance of immunology in almost every aspect of biomedical science and research.


This optional module will build on the immunological principles you have already met in Integrated Human Physiology (IHP) and complement what you will learn in Disease Diagnostics & Therapeutics (DDT). To take this module you need to have done IHP or an equivalent module in Biosciences.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module will build on your existing knowledge of core immunological principles, and appraise how immunology can be utilised for biomedical research and therapeutic intervention in disease.

It will help you to identify how the immune system is important for maintaining health, and why disorders in key immune pathways can lead to disease development.

You will learn to evaluate the impact of cutting-edge research into development of immunotherapy and its application for treatment and diagnostics, using primary literature, clinical trials, practical examples and research expertise within the University of Exeter Medical School.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Identify the key components of the human immune system, and define the key principles of innate and adaptive immunity
  • 2. Describe how the immune system fights infection
  • 3. Describe how disorders of the immune system can lead to disease with illustrative examples of diseases with major global impact (including autoimmunity, immunodeficiency and allergy)
  • 4. Indicate how the immune system develops and how its function varies with age
  • 5. Discuss different vaccination strategies for disease prevention and treatment
  • 6. Compare current immunotherapeutic approaches (e.g. antibodies, gene therapy, cell-based therapy)
  • 7. Illustrate how antibodies can be used for diagnostic purposes

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 8. Identify how immunological concepts underpin basic and applied research, diagnosis and therapy of human health and disease
  • 9. Develop in-depth knowledge of some standard immunological laboratory techniques and analyse data.

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 10. Communicate ideas effectively and professionally by oral and written routes
  • 11. With limited guidance, apply skills of critical thinking, problem-formulation and problem-solving to clinical science practice.
  • 12. Connect academic theory with real-world application through a site visit to a biotechnology company or similar opportunities

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, an example of an overall structure is as follows: 

  • Recap on haematopoietic lineages (including monocytes, macrophages, B- and T-lymphocytes, NK cells, granulocytes, dendritic cells)
  • Recap on innate and adaptive immunity (including cell-mediated and antibody-mediated immunity)
  • Introduction to mucosal immunology and the microbiome
  • Antibody structure and function
  • Infectious diseases: focus on schistosomiasis (parasitic) and SARS-CoV-2 (viral)
  • Hypersensitivity and allergy
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Immunodeficiency: SCID, CGD
  • Vaccines: types of vaccination strategy
  • Immunosuppression
  • Therapeutic antibodies (e.g. Infliximab, Rituximab, Lebricizumab) and immunotherapy (CAR T- cells)
  • Immune-based diagnostic approaches: ELISA, immunofluorescence & immunohistochemistry, immunoblotting, flow cytometry and lateral flow cassette assay

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching activities13 Expert-facilitated workshops to deliver key principles (8 x 1.5hr sessions plus 1 x 1hr revision session) These may be delivered through asynchronous workshop activities and pre-recorded video content, supported by a Discussion Board and/or synchronous Question & Answer session through Teams/Zoom.
Scheduled Learning and Teaching activities20 Expert-facilitated, small group learning sessions (question setting and feedback based on immunological triggers)(8 x 1hr question setting based on trigger and 8 x 1.5hr feedback sessions) These may be a blend of small group asynchronous Discussion Boards, combined with a synchronous Feedback session plus a formative online quiz.
Scheduled Learning and Teaching activities 12 Laboratory practical (3 x 3hr and 1 x 2 hr sessions plus a 1hr statistics introductory lecture) ), which may consist of asynchronous Labster (simulated practical) sessions supported by pre-recorded videos of key practical approaches and synchronous Question & Answer sessions through Teams/Zoom.
Guided independent study84Session preparation and literature research and exam revision
Guided independent study20Poster production
Guided independent study 1Practical preparation


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Online SAQ and MCQ Knowledge Tests30 minutes1-12Online

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Short-answer question paper & MCQ (online)701.5hr1-12Written
Poster30A0 poster in PowerPoint8-11Written


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Short-answer question paper and MCQ (70%) onlineShort-answer question paper and MCQ (1.5 hours) online1-12August re-assessment period
Poster (30%)Poster (A0 in PowerPoint)8-11August re-assessment period

Re-assessment notes

Please refer to the TQA section on Referral/Deferral:



Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

The module will be based around primary research publications and review articles. The following key text books (available electronically through the library) will also be a useful source of information:

 Basic reading: 

1)    Immunology: A Short Course (7th edition) by Richard Coico and Geoffrey Sunshine 

2)    Roitt's Essential Immunology (13th edition) by Peter Delves et al.


ELE and e-Resources – College to provide hyperlink to appropriate pages

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

NICE pathways (

Bite-sized Immunology (

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Immunology, antibody, vaccine, autoimmunity, infectious disease, diagnostics, therapeutics, immunotherapy, allergy

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites

CSC1005 or an equivalent module in Biosciences

Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date