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

Module Leader

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: 120

Lecture Hours: 15

Seminar Hours: 5

Guided Learning: 5

Captured Content: 5

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

  • Bacterial diversity in the GI tract; metabolic interactions; gas metabolism; proteolysis e.g. amine production; microbiota modulation by diet

  • Interaction between the gut microbiota and the gastrointestinal immune system

  • The gastrointestinal origins and food allergy and intolerance

  • Clinical application of food allergy testing and management

  • Psychological reasoning of food allergic customers and patients

  • Irritable bowel syndrome, the gut microbiota and application of the low FODMAP diet

  • Coeliac disease and non-coeliac wheat allergy

  • Colorectal cancer and dietary fibre

  • Dietary polyphenols and gut health

  • Diet and inflammatory disease

Nutritional case studies

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 both demonstrate knowledge and translational approaches in gastrointestinal physiology, immunity and clinical practice: These will be a mix of knowledge-based and applied real-World assessments based on the varied role of those aiming to work in nutrition.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of 4 pieces of written coursework collectively accounting for 100% of the module mark. These will be a variable format including:

  • Traditional essays, for example evidence-based summaries on a specific topic area covered in the module

  • Case study assignment, for example devising a nutritional management for a patient based on clinical information and symptomology.

  • Research dissemination to a wider audience, for example writing a newspaper article of a topic related to the module for a lay audience.

  • Developing resources for use within clinical practice based on the module content, for example devising a group-based nutritional education programme for patients with gastrointestinal disease.

  • Critical evaluation of a research study/paper in the field

Formative assessment

Case study sessions in class – an opportunity for students to work in small groups’ to speculate on demands, and requirements, identify issues, and propose possible nutritional strategies. 



Real-time feedback is provided in-class on formative case studies.  In addition to written feedback on submitted assignments


Module aims

  • To give an appreciation of the variety and significance of the intestinal microbiota, their influence on the health of the digestive tract and how they can be altered by diet
  • To set out clearly the relationship between the gut, the immune system, allergy and food 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
  • To explore the extent to which dietary manipulation can improve maldigestion and malabsorption of nutrients

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Explain the functioning of the healthy gut and the key role played by the intestinal microbiota in health and disease. K
002 Understand the relationship between the gut, the immune system, allergy and food intolerance. K
003 To be able to critically evaluate and apply the methods of assessment and treatment of food allergy and intolerance. CPT
004 To obtain an in-depth appreciation of the role of nutrition and gut function/health in its natural real-life context through the use of case-studies. KCPT
005 Review the aetiology of diseases of the gastrointestinal tract and understand nutritional factors which may influence development, progression and management. KPT

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: give the students a broad understanding of the role of the gut immune system and the gut microbiota and how this develops normally in healthy individuals. We will then build on this understanding and introduce different gastrointestinal pathologies, demonstrate how they are linked to the dysregulation of the immune system/microbiota interface and their link with nutrition. The students will be provided with up-to date information on the assessment and management of these pathologies with the opportunity to obtain an in-depth understanding of the complex nutritional issues relevant to their own practice through the use of group discussions and expert-led case studies.


The learning and teaching methods will include lectures, group class discussions and case studies

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

Employability: The module is designed to provide not just advanced theory in this nutritional discipline but the application of knowledge applicable directly to clinical and professional practice.  Through the use of authentic assessments, and formative in class activities, students deal with real life case studies, as well as produce in-depth evidence-based scientific and lay summaries and recommendations. In addition, students are exposed directly to leading clinical practitioners (specialist dietitians and medics) in addition to external speakers in a range of disciplines, gaining an appreciation of the full scope of the topic.  


Resourcefulness and Resilience: The teaching of this module provides a scaffold around which students need to apply their knowledge and resourcefulness to solve problems and demonstrate innovation.  The nature of the assessments and formative activities in class are such that students will be required to draw upon their individual and collective resourcefulness, often working in partnership with other students to work through case studies and come up with nutritional solutions.

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 2025/6 academic year.