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The University of Southampton

MEDI6038 Immunity & Infection

Module Overview

This module consists of 10 x 2 hour sessions covering 5 topics (two sessions per topic, one week apart). Click on the timetable link for timetables and details of topics covered. Prior to each topic, the relevant journal and supporting documentation will be uploaded onto the course materials section of the website. Each topic will be taught by an academic with a specialist interest in the subject area. The first session will consist of a 50 minute seminar. The content of the seminar will then be discussed by the group, including the lecturer, in order to clarify any points and to frame any questions arising from the lecture that the students find interesting. A journal paper that extends or applies the knowledge in the seminar, will then be handed out to the students. You should read the methods section immediately, in order to ensure that you are familiar with the basic principles of the techniques and/or any confusing abbreviations used. Methodological queries will be discussed at the session. One or more students, depending on class numbers, will be designated to prepare an oral presentation of the paper for the following week. All the students will write a review of the paper stating the hypothesis and summarising the background, results and conclusion with comment on strengths, weaknesses and any new questions arising as a consequence of the paper. The paper and background questions arising from the paper or the seminar will form the basis of the work in the following session, one week later. One student will make an oral presentation of the paper and all the students will be expected to join in a discussion of the paper during and after the presentation. Students who have looked up specific areas will discuss their findings as part of this general discussion of the paper after the oral presentation. The student(s) who give the presentation will not be assessed on their contribution to the discussion

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Describe the mechanisms of innate immunity and the mucosal mechanisms of the airway.
  • To understand some of the key structural principles that govern the function of the immune system, focusing on the basics in intermolecular interactions and protein structure
  • Understand the biology and pathology of viruses and bacteria in relation to human disease.
  • Understand how to perform a -omics study in a disease (Systems Biology).
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Perform succinct oral presentations and discuss the importance and relevance of published work
  • Produce a concise written summary and appraisal of published work including an assessment of its importance in the field of study
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Organise your own activities to achieve a desired outcome within a limited amount of time
  • Direct your own learning
  • Exercise initiative and personal responsibility
Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Understand and summarise work carried out by others in your field of study, in a broad range of disciplines (immunity, virology, bacteriology, epidemiology and systems biology and -omics).
  • Apply information identified from published sources to your own investigations


Mucosal Defence Innate Immunity of the Lungs Infection and immunity. Immune receptor interactions Structure-function relationships in the immune system Key receptors of the immune system (T-cell receptor, Antibodies and Integrins) RNA Viruses. RNA viral genomes and replication Genetic manipulation Translational conundrums Avoiding innate immunity Bacterial infection in the Airways (TB) TB and the immune system of the host. Epidemiology of TB. Gene expression profiling in disease GWAS studies RNA-seq ChIP-seq Proteomics How to integrate Big Data knowledge in disease and inflammation.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

A variety of methods will be used including lectures, tutorials and journal club presentations. Total Study Time The module will reflect the normal distribution of 200 hours of student effort attributable to each 20 credit module. Contact hours: 20 Non-contact hours: 180

Independent Study180
Total study time200

Resources & Reading list

Sabroe I, Whyte MK (2007). Incapacitating the immune system in cystic fibrosis. Nat Med.. ,13 , pp. 1417-8.

Kim EY, Battaile JT, Patel AC, You Y, Agapov E, Grayson MH, Benoit LA, Byers DE, Alevy Y, Tucker J, Swanson S, Tidwell R, Tyner JW, Morton JD, Castro M, Polineni D, Patterson GA, Schwendener RA, Allard JD, Peltz G, Holtzman MJ. (2008). Persistent activation of an innate immune response translates respiratory viral infection into chronic lung disease. Nat Med.. ,14 , pp. 633-40.

Adcock IM, Ito K, Barnes PJ. (2005). Histone deacetylation: an important mechanism in inflammatory lung diseases. COPD. ,2 , pp. 445-55.

Journal lists. Journal of Immunology Nature Immunology European Journal of Immunology Nature Medicine

Holgate ST and Polosa R. (2006). The mechanisms, diagnosis, and management of severe asthma in adults. Lancet. ,368 , pp. 780-793.

Gadola SD, Zaccai NR, Harlos K, Shepherd D, Castro-Palomino JC, Ritter G, Schmidt RR, Jones EY, Cerundolo V. (2002). Structure of human CD1b with bound ligands at 2.3 A, a maze for alkyl chains. Nat Immunol. ,3 , pp. 721-6.


Assessment Strategy

The assessment for the module provides you with the opportunity to demonstrate achievement of the learning outcomes. There will be three parts to the assessment, based on oral presentation skills, contribution to discussions and written skills. The incorporation and demonstration of an understanding of immunological mechanisms will also be important in developing the research proposal produced during the Research Skills for Biomedical Sciences module. The markers/reviewers will normally be selected from teachers on the module. Written assignments will be double marked. Assessed Course Work: 1. Oral presentation and discussion of a chosen paper at Journal Club (30%). 2. Contributions to the discussion of four journal papers and the presentations of other students (20%) 3. Written reviews (maximum 1000 words each) for each of five designated journal club paper incorporating a critical assessment of data quality and experimental strategy in the relevant field of research (50%) Assessment requirements You must pass the module with an average overall mark of 50% or above. Compensation between the three assessment components will be allowed provided the minimum mark of each component is 40% or above. Candidates who fail the module at the first attempt will be permitted to take the referral assessment for the failed component. Candidates who achieve at least 50% overall at the second attempt will be permitted to pass the module with a capped module mark of 50%.


MethodPercentage contribution
Contribution 20%
Oral presentation 30%
Review  (1000 words) 50%


MethodPercentage contribution
Discussion 20%
Oral presentation 30%
Review  (1000 words) 50%


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Books and Stationery equipment

All journal articles used will be accessible to students through the University of Southampton electronic journals collection. There are no other cost implications arising from this module.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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