Module code: BMSM008

Module Overview

The module aims to provide a detailed appreciation of dietary lipids, including their sources of origin, biochemistry, functions and essential roles in health. Building on this, the module will critically examine and evaluate evidence for the roles of specific dietary fatty acids in the prevention and management of disease.


Module provider

School of Biosciences

Module Leader

FIELDING Barbara (Biosciences)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

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

Overall student workload

Workshop Hours: 4

Independent Learning Hours: 100

Lecture Hours: 12

Tutorial Hours: 10

Guided Learning: 10

Captured Content: 14

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

Some or all of the following topics

  • Lipids: structure and functional roles; fatty acid biochemistry and nature of essentiality; sources of lipids in the diet; n-6:n-3 ratio; efficiency of conversion to long-chain n-3 PUFAs

  • Lipid, lipoprotein and cholesterol metabolism

  • Dietary fat and disease epidemiology with emphasis on cardiovascular disease

  • Pathogenesis of atherosclerosis and thrombosis: atherogenicity of lipoproteins

  • Dietary fat and the pathogenesis of other conditions such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

  • Dyslipidemia and cardiovascular disease; influence of type of dietary fat; lipid-lowering strategies

  • Membrane structure and function and effects of diet; role of essential fatty acids in brain and retinal development; eicosanoid metabolism; prostaglandins, leukotrienes and cytokines - role in the modulation of inflammatory and immunological responses; dietary n-3:n-6 ratios in relation to eicosanoids and inflammation; clotting and thrombosis

  • Clinical applications of dietary fatty acids

  • Dietary fat and cancer

  • Current consensus on dietary guidelines for dietary fat and fatty acid composition

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate in –depth understanding of lipid biochemistry and an understanding of the relationship between specific dietary fatty acid intake, health and disease.  In addition, the course will help to develop the ability to critically appraise current literature in this respect.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • Coursework: a range of subject areas will be 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 SurreyLearn and Module Organisers will be available for further discussion if necessary.

Module aims

  • To provide an appreciation of dietary lipids, including their sources of origin, biochemistry, functional roles and nature of essentiality to health.
  • To nurture an understanding of lipid transport pathways in terms of lipoprotein physiology.
  • To critically examine the epidemiology of dietary lipids and disease
  • To provide an understanding of the pathogenesis of CHD, non-alcoholic fatty disease and cancer in relation to current research.
  • To understand the role of polyunsaturated fatty acids in inflammation and immune function.
  • To understand the role of nutrigenetics and nutrigenomics in relation to lipid metabolism.
  • To evaluate critically the evidence in support of a therapeutic role for dietary fatty acids in the prevention and management of disease
  • To provide an update on the current guidelines for the intake of dietary fat and fatty acids

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Describe major dietary issues and the scientific rationale underlying the current consensus on dietary guidelines for lipids and essential fatty acids K
002 Explain lipid biochemistry and lipid-mediated cardiovascular risk and how dietary lipids modify the course and outcome of disease K
003 Analyse the epidemiology of dietary lipids and disease C
004 Evaluate critically the potential role of dietary fatty acids as therapeutic agents C
005 Examine the association between dietary lipids and disease aetiology C
006 Communicate understanding of the aetiological role of dietary lipids in disease processes through a critical appraisal of the scientific (research) literature 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/debate

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: BMSM008

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 1 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 2022/3 academic year.