The University of Southampton

MEDI6081 Foundations of Allergic Disease

Module Overview

The Foundations of Allergic Disease module gives an overview of the generation of normal and allergic immune responses which lead to disease. Clinical allergic diseases are introduced, and appropriate diagnostic and management options outlined. The basis of skin prick testing and the use of medical devices appropriate for the treatment of allergic disease will be explained, and the techniques demonstrated.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• Provide you with an overview of the processes leading to the generation of normal and allergic immune responses. • Help you comprehend the complex immunological mechanisms of allergic disease. • Integrate your understanding of the underlying mechanisms of disease into your approach for diagnosing and treating allergic patients. • Outline the range of clinical allergic disease and introduce management concepts. • Outline the diagnostic and management options for patients with different allergic disorders. • Provide practical demonstrations of skin prick testing, and the use of medical devices appropriate for the treatment of allergic disease

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

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

  • Describe and differentiate the immune mechanisms involved in sensitisation and tolerance.
  • Explain the key symptoms of allergic disease and elaborate on their underlying immunological basis.
  • Discuss the range of clinical tests available for investigation and diagnosis of allergic disease and their scientific basis of these investigations.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Solve complex clinical and scientific issues both systematically and creatively.
  • Develop skills relating to lifelong professional learning.
  • Improve communication skills (written, listening and verbal).
  • Critically appraise your professional development through reflection.
Cognitive Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Plan the questions needed to take a clinical history to determine the risk of developing allergic reactions and identify potential trigger factors.
  • Appraise the impact of allergic disease on patients and their families (eg. physical, quality of life, social).


Postgraduate study skills: Information for writing assignments: Scientific and IT skills for report writing, How to read a scientific paper / Critical appraisal, Academic Integrity, Managing references (searching, storing, citing). Basic Science: Basic Immune Mechanisms What is Allergic Inflammation? The Immunology of Allergy: Primary and Secondary sensitisation The Immunology of Allergy: Tolerance The Immunology of Allergy: Acute, late phase and chronic allergic reactions Early life origins of allergic disease Characterisation of allergens Clinical Pharmacology of Drugs used to treat allergy Clinical Aspects: Generic Clinical Allergy overview Epidemiology Diagnosis of allergy Primary prevention Secondary prevention Quality of life in patients with allergic disease Living with food allergy- the patient perspective Complementary medicine- diagnosis and management Clinical Aspects: Disease Specific A basic overview of the clinical history, investigations and management of: Food allergy Wasp, bee and drug allergy as examples of systemic IgE reactions Asthma and rhinitis Urticaria and eczema as examples of allergic skin disorders Clinical Aspects: Interactive Sessions Problem solving; History taking and examinations talk Problem solving; Interactive case histories Practical session; Lecture then practical stations for SPT, Adrenaline Autoinjectors, Inhalers and Nasal sprays Transferrable Skills IT skills Referencing Communication skills Oral presentation skills Reflection

Special Features

The module will be taught at Southampton General Hospital by an international faculty, at the forefront of their respective academic disciplines and professions. There is strong representation from multidisciplinary healthcare professionals. Adult learning methods will be used throughout and an emphasis placed upon interactive learning, practical demonstration and the interpretation of clinical scenarios to reinforce learning.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

A variety of learning and teaching methods will be adopted to promote a wide range of skills and meet the differing learning styles of the group. The techniques will include seminars, practical demonstrations and exercises surrounding interpretation of data and clinical scenarios. Specialist lecturers from a range of academic and health care professional backgrounds will be used to ensure a breadth and depth of perspective is offered, giving a good balance between background theories and principles and practical management advice. There will also be a basic science and generic clinical skills guided e-learning package with self assessment available as an online package for students to take advantage of in their own time. Students must complete this component, and assessment will be formative with built in self-assessment and automated feedback.

Independent Study220
Total study time250

Resources & Reading list

Holgate, Church and Lichtenstein (2011). Allergy. Basic Science: Chapters 14-21. 

Chapel, Haeney, Misbah and Snowden (2014). Essentials of Clinical Immunology. 

Global Atlas of Allergy. EAACI have produced an online Global Atlas of Allergy. To access the atlas, visit

Helbert M. (2006). The Flesh and Bones of Immunology. 

Useful Journals.  Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology Clinical and Experimental Allergy Clinical and Translational Allergy Paediatric Allergy and Immunology Allergy

e-Books. There are many e-books available from the University of Southampton library in both allergy and related academic subjects (e.g. reflection, study skills, communication skills).

Zabriskie (2009). Essential Clinical Immunology. 


Assessment Strategy

The assessment for the module provides you with the opportunity to demonstrate achievement of the learning outcomes. There will be three assessed components, i) individual oral presentation, ii) individual reflection and iii) individual assignment. The pass mark for the module and all assessed components is 50%.


MethodPercentage contribution
Oral presentation  (10 minutes) 40%
Reflective account  (1000 words) 10%
Written assignment  (2500 words) 50%


MethodPercentage contribution
Written assignment  (2500 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


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:


Computer: It is advisable that students provide their own laptop or personal computer, although shared facilities are available across the University campus.

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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