Course Outline

This course teaches a foundation of biological topics sufficient to appreciate the main systems
of the body and some of the more common diseases that affect the human body and mind. The
course begins with an overview of the human body and then focuses on important themes in
Medical Biology such as central nervous system coordination and disease, cardiovascular
disease, blood, the immune system and infectious disease.

Students have a wide range of interests: many wish to have a better grasp of how the parts
work together, others have a scientific interest in the details, some are searching for general
ideas about Biology to link up with their other studies. For this reason, individual tutorials are
used to take the work in whichever direction is preferred.

The following topics are considered: –

Overview of the Human Body
This provides an introduction to the human body as a physiologically integrated
organism. The major systems are discussed with emphasis placed on their
interrelationships in order to maintain the internal environment of the body (homeostasis)
and the consequences when these break down.

The Central Nervous System
The role of the Central Nervous System (CNS) in physical and biochemical coordination
is discussed. Emphasis is placed on the structure, function and diseases of the CNS.

The Cardiovascular System
Cardiovascular disease is one of the largest causes of disease and mortality in the
Western world. This module discusses the causes, pathology and treatment of heart

Diseases of the Blood
The causes, pathology and treatment of diseases of the blood system are considered.

Genetic Disease
This section of the course looks at a range of genetic diseases like phenylketonuria
(PKU) and diabetes and examines the benefits and problems which have arisen from
knowledge of the human genome.

The Immune System
This module gives an overview of the immune system and the ways that it can be
compromised by, for instance, the HIV virus in AIDS.

Parasites and Tropical Diseases
International travel and global rise in temperature have created an increased risk of
diseases from disorders like malaria and Chagas disease.

Infectious Disease and Antibiotics
Sources of infectious disease are discussed and examples given of antibiotic action.

An introduction to the types and causes of this increasingly prevalent disease.

Assessment Process

The weighting of the assessment is principally focused on the work done on written research
papers and by an end of course test. These marks, combined with an assessment of student
performance in class, make up the final grade for the course, as shown.

Grade Breakdown

  • 40% Research papers
  • 40% Test
  • 10% Class Participation
  • 10% Attendance

Assessment Criteria

Grade A
Appropriate, accurate and well-detailed knowledge of medical
biology. Excellent organisation and structure of arguments, displaying
substantial evidence and appropriate balance. Excellent
communication skills.
Grade B
Appropriate and detailed but slightly limited medical biology
knowledge. Arguments presented coherently, but balance not always
achieved. Oral and written skills good.
Grade C
Limited medical biology knowledge, but generally accurate.
Reasonable arguments constructed and some evidence of breadth or
depth is displayed. Oral and communication skills satisfactory.
Grade D
Description of issues is weak and understanding is muddled and
incomplete. Basic knowledge displayed orally and in written form.
Weak communication skills.
Fail Failure to reach a minimum standard of communication, content and

Recommended Reading

The list below is for guidance and to supply some ideas for preliminary reading. We
recommend that you do not purchase the books on this list before arrival and certainly not all of
them; most should be available from a good library. Your tutor will recommend the most
appropriate books for purchase at the first class of term.

Ross & Wilson: Anatomy & Physiology In Health & Disease K J W Wilson & A Waugh Churchill
Livingstone (1996; 8th Edn).

If you are unable to obtain books locally, they may be ordered from
Blackwell’s Bookshop or