The University of Southampton
Courses

BIOL6023 Cellular Signalling in Health and Disease

Module Overview

The module comprises an introduction/revision to inflammatory mediators and a detailed survey of the way that they interact in different diseases. This information is integrated in the context of a number of human diseases affecting a range of different tissues within the body. Strategies that are used to devise new therapeutic approaches to inflammatory disease are discussed within each topic.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

The aim of this module is to give students a thorough background in the signalling mechanisms by which mammalian cells are regulated. The module focuses on their roles in diseases such as cancer, inflammation and tissue hypertrophy, and illustrates how inhibiting such pathways may be used to treat these conditions.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Explain the fundamental principles that underlie intracellular signalling pathways, and describe how cell surface receptors activate major signalling pathways such as PI 3-kinase/Akt and Ras/ERK
  • Describe how intervention in key signalling pathways may be used to treat inflammatory disease of the CNS.
  • Identify members and roles of the Myc/Max family of transcriptional regulators
  • Distinguish the mechanisms of oncogenic activation of Myc and explain how Myc can function as a transcriptional activator or a transcriptional repressor
  • Discuss the implications of a sample of current research in this field for our understanding of cellular signalling.
  • Explain the physiological roles of the mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin) pathway in cellular regulation and the immune system, and the mechanisms by which mTOR signalling is activated by hormones and growth factors
  • Outline the role of mTOR, PI 3-kinase and Ras/ERK signalling in diseases such as cancer and cardiac hypertrophy and describe strategies for tackling the defects in cell signalling that give rise to specific diseases
  • Outline the importance of apoptosis during embryonic development and in the maintenance of appropriate cell number.
  • Explain the similarities and differences between the induction of apoptosis by extrinsic and intrinsic pathways and describe some of the characteristic changes to cellular components during the execution stage of apoptosis
  • Describe how signals are transduced from cell surface receptors to regulate the transcription of nuclear genes
  • Explain the biological role of cytokines in health and disease and describe the basic function of the different Toll like receptors and cytokine receptors
  • Describe how the signalling pathways of cytokine receptors are activated and explain the importance of regulation
  • Review the possible mechanisms that control the innate and acquired immune responses in the central nervous system

Syllabus

The module comprises an introduction/revision to inflammatory mediators and a detailed survey of the way that they interact in different diseases. This information is integrated in the context of a number of human diseases affecting a range of different tissues within the body. Strategies that are used to devise new therapeutic approaches to inflammatory disease are discussed within each topic.

Special Features

Students will attend scheduled seminars based around selected research papers, these seminars will be chaired by an academic. Students will be required to study the papers in detail beforehand and will be assigned papers to present to the group for discussion. Following the seminars the student will prepare their written critical evaluation of the assigned paper and submit it via Turnitin. In the final seminar session the student will make a formal presentation of their evaluation to a peer group and academic assessor. Students are also encouraged to enter into informal discussions with teaching staff and utilise computer-based material to facilitate learning of core principles of membrane excitation.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The module will comprise of lectures and a final revision lecture (if required), research paper seminars and independent study. Students will have access to a list of selected literature for further reading around each topic. The module will comprise of lectures and a final revision lecture (if required), research paper seminars and independent study. Students will have access to a list of selected literature for further reading around each topic.

TypeHours
Lecture24
Independent Study126
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Murphy et al (2008). Janeway’s Immunobiology. 

Kindt et al (2006). Kuby Immunology. 

H. Lodish et al (2008). Molecular Cell Biology. 

B. Alberts et al (2008). Molecular Biology of the Cell. 

Marks et al (2009). Cellular Signal Processing. 

Older editions of the last three textbooks are available for free at the NCBI Bookshelf.

B. Alberts et al (2009). Essential Cell Biology. 

Assessment

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Literature review with presentation  (2000 words) 35%
Written exam  (2 hours) 65%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Literature review with presentation 35%
Written exam  (2 hours) 65%
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