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

WHYTE Martin (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: 15

Tutorial Hours: 17

Guided Learning: 10

Captured Content: 4

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

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-3:n-6 ratio; efficiency of conversion to long-chain n-3 PUFAs. Sustainability issues with regard to fish oil fatty acids/alternative sources

  • 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

  • Clinical applications of dietary fatty acids

  • The effect of food structure and macronutrient composition on dietary lipid metabolism

  • 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:


The summative assessment for this module consists of: COURSEWORK ASSIGNMENTS COLLECTIVELY COMPRISING A MAX OF 5000 WORDS, WHICH MAY INCLUDE A COMPULSORY ELEMENT. Addresses learning outcomes 1-7. The coursework includes a variety of tasks such as an essay, a case study, preparation of a mock government ‘white paper’ and patient information sheet.


  Formative assessment

A quiz that covers basic lipid biochemistry is available on SurreyLearn, in order to reassure students that they are equipped with the prior learning required before starting the module.



The online quiz gives a grade with feedback on an incorrect answer. The healthy fat quiz is peer-marked and feedback on the reasoning behind the correct answers will be given at the time. Feedback on the students critical evaluation of the journal articles will also be given at the time, in addition to written feedback in SurreyLearn on marked assignments.

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 SS, GCC
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 DC,RR
007 Develop the skills to examine/write a case study involving lipid-related risk factors that could be improved with dietary/lifestyle advice CPT

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


- use group work to continue to build students’ confidence in the critical evaluation of the scientific literature. Students typically discuss a recent publication and together, prepare a powerpoint presentation to highlight the salient points with a critical evaluation of the authors methods and conclusions. This will also allow students to develop skills in presentation are key employability and digital capability skills, as well as preparation for the assessed presentation in BMSM013.


-allow students to develop bonds with their peers and staff, during formal and informal discussions (the latter during breaks), in order to foster a good team spirit which will be beneficial for this and future modules.


- engage students with different professional backgrounds to maximise their learning by drawing on their own expertise and experiences to contribute to class discussions. The students are already aware of the diversity of their backgrounds from the introductions in BMSM001 and lecturers typically ensure a balance of experiences/professions in group work.


The learning and teaching methods include class discussions based on lectures, critical evaluation of topical journal articles (group work), case studies and a bespoke evening meal: The healthy fats dinner which is followed by the healthy fats quiz, designed to consolidate learning during the module.

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


Can be taken as a stand–alone module.


Addressing the 5 pillars:


Digital Capabilities: Students on the programme have a wide range of digital capabilities, due to the varying nature of their professions and prior experience. Group work whereby students prepare presentations in a short space of time develops the skills and confidence required for the effective dissemination of science. As in other modules, students are encouraged to work together in groups, utilising collaborative tools (Whatsapp, Teams, Zoom) to communicate.   These are key skills that are increasingly important to the modern nutritionist, working in a variety of settings and teams.


Sustainability: guidelines for recommending particular foods can create issues for sustainability of natural resources and this is the case for the recommendations for oily fish. In this module we discuss the scale of the problem in terms of world resources and students consider the pros and cons of alternatives.


Resourcefulness and resilience: students on the module will be at various stages in their journey; it could be their second taught module out of nine, or it could be their ninth. Students at the earlier stages discuss strategies with those in the later stages, to plan workloads which must often be fitted into a busy working life. This is encouraged during coffee and meal breaks. Meals are taken at round tables to encourage discussion and the ‘coffee queue’ encourages introductions and small steps to developing a network of support in the module and overall programme.


Global and cultural challenges: Introduction and engagement with diverse perspectives such as through guest speakers or case studies from a range of countries, cultures and environments, discussions and problem-solving of global challenges.





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.