Module code: BMS2045

Module Overview

The purpose of this module is to provide a conceptual understanding of the key principles of human immunology, including the immune response to infection and foreign antigens. Such an understanding is crucial in many other parts of the program, including the pathogenicity of infectious disease, oncology and pharmacology. It is a prerequisite for modules at FHEQ 6 including BMS3054 (Clinical Immunology and Haematology).

Module provider

School of Biosciences and Medicine

Module Leader

BODMAN-SMITH Kikki (Biosc & Med)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 5

JACs code: C550

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Workshop Hours: 2

Independent Learning Hours: 118

Lecture Hours: 17

Tutorial Hours: 5

Laboratory Hours: 8

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

• Theme 1 – Cells and Tissue of the immune system (myloid and lymphoid lineages, bone marrow, thymus, spleen,  MALT, lymph nodes)
• Theme 2 – The innate immune response (complement, phagocytosis, PRRs, PAMPs)
• Theme 3 – Antigens and antigen receptors (antigens, immunogens, antibodies, TCR, BCR, MHC class I and II, antigen presentation)
• Theme 4 – The adaptive immune response: dynamics of the immune response (activation/costimulation/differentiation of T cells, cytokines, germinal centres, class switching, somatic hypermutation/affinity maturation)
• Theme 5 – The adpative immune response: tolerance, hypersensitivity and mucosal immunity (central and peripheral tolerance mechanisms, type I/II/III/IV and V hypersensitivity, mucosal structure and functions, sIgA)
• Practical session on flow cytometry and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs)

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
School-timetabled exam/test IN-CLASS TEST 1 - 40 MINUTES 20
School-timetabled exam/test IN-CLASS TEST 2 - 40 MINUTES 20
Practical based assessment LABORATORY REPORT - ELISA PRACTICAL 10

Alternative Assessment

If practical components require re-assessment there will be a written exam to assess the underlying principles of the appropriate learning outcomes. This will reflect the material covered in the original assessment and will carry the same weighting. Students must hand in a completed laboratory workbook for the Flow Cytometry practical.

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their conceptual understanding of theoretical and practical immunology within each of the thematic areas as defined by the Learning Profiles. The in-class test format assesses the learning within specific themes, whereas the final MCQ assesses the overall learning in the module.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • Two in-class tests. Each is 40mins long and has ~30 mixed MCQ/SAQs. These will be based upon the combined learning in Themes 1&2, and Themes 3&4

  •  A practical report of the one-day ELISA practical

  •  A final exam consisting of 100 MCQs in 2 hours, examining learning across the 5 themes, as well as theoretical aspects of the practicals

Formative assessment and feedback

  • There are summative MCQs (10 apiece) and SAQs (2 apiece) available on SurreyLearn after the tutorial for each theme. Students receive immediate feedback on their performance, which contains explanations for each correct answer.

  • The correct and model answers for the in-course minitest MCQs/SAQs respectively are given during the first lecture following the test, giving the students early feedback on their performance.

  •  Students complete Learning Profiles in the SurreyLearn throughout the module and the pre-tutorial profile can be used to guide the curricula areas for further exploration.

  • Students receive verbal feedback on their numerical skills and results obtained immediately in the practical sessions. For the half-day Flow Cytometry practical, students must complete a laboratory work book during the session, and immediate group feedback will be given by academics before the session ends. Written feedback on the practical report is given both on the scripts and also in some general feedback which is provided on SurreyLearn

  • Both of the practical reports are groupwork (flow cytometry in groups of four, ELISA in groups of 2). Currently problems within groups pertaining to group work or group dynamics are reported informally to the module convenor, and students are informed of their right to make a formal complaint about the contribution of a group member to the module convenor in writing (via email)

Module aims

  • Help students become familiar with the terms used in immunology
  • Develop their understanding of how immunity works by starting from the fundamental components of the reactions involved and building on these to describe the cellular and biochemical events which protect an organism against disease
  • Provide an understanding and hands-on experience of techniques used in immunology together with experimental design and data analysis

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
1 Have a sound knowledge of the cells and tissues which comprise the immune system KC
2 Have a thorough command of the basic principles of immunology KC
3 Be able to illustrate and understand some useful applications of the principles of immunology PT
4 Have learned the basis of a number of laboratory techniques used in immunology P

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to provide the students with a blended-learning approach to a complex subject and to encourage semester-long self-study and deep learning. The module is divided into the 5 themes outlined above, and each theme consists of 3 hours of didactic lectures (in a large group) and a 1 hour small group tutorial (led by one academic and one PhD student for each group of 25-30 students). Each tutorial focuses on one immunological theme and the students undertake guided learning activities that are designed to encourage active learning, peer-to-peer learning, spatial learning and conceptual themes in a more constructivist approach. This cycle is repeated for each of the 5 themes each extending over 2 weeks of the semester. The students take two short (40 minute) summative tests consisting of mixed MCQs/SAQs after themes 2 and 4. These examine their learning of theme 1&2 and 3&4 LOs. The strategy also incorporates ‘Learning Profiles’ (self-assessed competency matrices) which are designed to help the students guide their self-study as they prepare for the in-class tests.

The practical component of the strategy is to engage the students with the principles of immunological tests that are used in a wide range of bioscience and clinical research settings. The practicals are also designed to each align with one theme, and provide an alternative learning environment for the concepts that underlie both the experimentation and the techniques.

The learning and teaching methods include:
• Theme lectures – 3hours of lectures per fortnight x5
• Theme tutorials – one 1hour tutorial per fortnight x5
• In-class tests – a MCQ/SAQ test after themes 1&2 and after themes 3&4 
• Practical sessions – one 3hours, one 5hours
• Practical lecture – two 1hour lectures and a 1hour tutorial on data analysis
• Revision sessions – one 2hour sessions, using the electronic voting system

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: BMS2045

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Biochemistry BSc (Hons) 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Nutrition BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Microbiology BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Biomedical Science BSc (Hons) 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Biochemistry MSci (Hons) 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Veterinary Biosciences BSc (Hons) 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Biological Sciences BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2019/0 academic year.