Module code: BMSM005

Module Overview

A detailed examination of the interaction between the gastrointestinal tract and food, in both health and pathological states.

Module provider

School of Biosciences and Medicine

Module Leader

ROBERTSON Denise (Biosc & Med)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

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

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 125

Lecture Hours: 25

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

Some or all of the following topics

• The healthy gut; digestion and absorption of macronutrients
• Areas of the gut involved in the absorption of specific micronutrients
• Adaptation of intestinal transporters
• Role of the colon in human nutrition; non-starch polysaccharides: definition and content in foods; starch and resistant starch: fermentation
• Physiological influences of fibre: plasma cholesterol lowering, modification of the glycaemic response, large bowel function, nutrient availability
• Bacterial diversity in the GI tract; metabolic interactions; gas metabolism; proteolysis e.g. amine production; flora modulation by diet e.g. prebiotics and probiotics
• Acute and chronic gut infection; irritable bowel disease, colitis
• Nutritional management of coeliac disease, Crohn's disease, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis
• Impaired digestion and its consequences; achlorhydria, hypochlorhydria
• Malabsorption syndromes: pathogenesis and management
• Approaches to treatment of food intolerance: e.g. exclusion diets: use in rheumatoid arthritis etc., liabilities of exclusion diets
• Increased intestinal permeability
• The gut and the immune system
• Food intolerance and allergy: defmitions; diagnosis; symptoms, syndromes and disease in children and adults; lactose intolerance
• Allergy testing
• Colorectal cancer and diet

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Coursework assignments collectively comprising a maximum of 5000 words, which may include a compulsory element. 100

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide  students with the opportunity to demonstrate their subject knowledge and understanding (see above) and the development of their cognitive and transferable skills (see above) through the assimilation and appraisal of the literature to address the coursework questions.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

• Coursework: a range of subject areas are assessed, demonstrating learning outcomes across the range for the module
• Students are required to submit electronically on a set deadline two months following the module.

Formative assessment and feedback

Students will receive feedback electronically in SurreyLeam and Module Organisers will be available for further discussion if necessary.


Module aims

  • To ensure an accurate understanding of the gut and its function in the normal or healthy state.
  • To explore the widespread physiological influences of fibre including their effects on the colon.
  • To give an appreciation of the variety and significance of the intestinal microflora, their influence on the health of the digestive tract and how they can be altered by diet.
  • To explore the extent to which dietary manipulation can improve maldigestion, malabsorption and excessive gut permeability.
  • To set out clearly the relationship between the gut, the immune system, allergy and food intolerance.
  • To examine the efficacy of methods of dealing with food allergy and intolerance.
  • To discuss the aetiology and nutritional management of the various conditions, infective and other, associated with an inflamed gut.
  • To explore the aetiology of colorectal cancer and nutritional factors which may influence the development and progression of the condition.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
1 Explain the functioning of the healthy gut and the key role played by the intestinal microflora in health and disease K
2 Describe the relationship between the gut, the immune system, allergy and food intolerance K
3 Review the aetiology of colorectal cancer and discuss nutritional factors which may influence its development and progression K
4 Analyse the extent to which dietary manipulation can improve maldigestion, malabsorption and excessive gut permeability C
5 Evaluate the methods of assessment and treatment of food allergy and intolerance C
6 Relate the physiological influences of fibre to gut health C
7 Assess the evidence for the influence of nutritional factors on various pathological conditions of the intestine T
8 Critically appraise current treatments of food intolerance T
9 Apply theory critically to analyse own professional experience T

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 be aligned with the descriptor for qualification at level 7 in the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (FHEQ) produced by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA)

The learning and teaching methods include:

• Lectures
• Workshops
• Journal club
• Class discussions

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: BMSM005

Other information

This module is only available to students on the Nutritional Medicine programme.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Nutritional Medicine MSc 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% 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 2020/1 academic year.