Pathogens & Pathogenicity - BI606

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2020 to 2021
Autumn 6 15 (7.5) DR A Moores checkmark-circle


Part A: Eukaryotic pathogens (parasites)
Parasites and pathogenicity, transmission and diversity.
• Parasites and pathogenicity, transmission and diversity.
• Mechanisms of Pathogenesis and methods for studying them.
• Microbial pathogenicity: variations on a common theme.
• Definitions on parasitic lifestyle.
• Investigations on worldwide parasitic outbreaks and their socio-economical effects.
• Eukaryotic pathogens and their effect in the microbiome.

Part B: Bacterial pathogens
• Methodology of studying bacterial pathogenesis.
• Virulence factors including toxins and adhesins.
• Applications of virulence factors in the treatment and prevention of disease.

Part C: Viral pathogens
• Viruses and Human Disease - transmission and spread, overview of important human virus infections, mechanisms of transmission (Aerosol, Oral-faecal, Sexual etc.), epidemiology - patterns of endemic and epidemic disease.
• Mechanisms of Pathogenesis - spread in the body, disease mechanisms, mechanisms of cell killing (Herpes simplex and Polio), immunopathology and auto-immune disease.
• Virus infection – long term consequences for the host, escape through mutation and natural selection, disabling the immune system, avoidance mechanisms.
• Viruses and Cancer - mechanisms of virus transformation (EBV, Retroviruses & Papilloma), viruses and human cancer (Cervical carcinoma, Hepatocellular Carcinoma & Burkitt Lymphoma).

Part D: Human fungal pathogens
• Fungi and Human Disease - overview of major human fungal infections, clinical picture, diagnosis and mechanisms of transmission, epidemiological aspects of fungal infections.
• Mechanisms of Fungal Pathogenesis - adherence, invasion of eukaryotic cells, morphogenesis, virulence factors.
• Host resistance to infection and antifungal chemotherapy - host defence mechanisms to fungal infections, role of the humoral and cellular immune response, antifungal chemotherapy: azoles, polyenes, echinocandines and antimetabolites, future developments for the treatment of fungal infections.


This module appears in the following module collections.

Contact hours

Total contact hours: 20
Private study hours: 130
Total study hours: 150

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods:
Written assessment (2000 - 2500 words): 35%:
Exam (2h) Essays: 65%

Reassessment methods:
100% Exam

Indicative reading

Mims, CA, The Pathogenesis of Infectious Diseases, 5th ed. (Academic Press, 2001) or a latter edition.
Fields, BN, Knipe DM, Howley PM, Fundamental Virology, 3rd ed. (Lippincott-Raven, 1996)
Wilson BA, Salyers, AA, Whitt, DD, Bacterial Pathogenesis, A Molecular Approach, 3rd ed. (ASM Press, 2011)
Fungal Pathogenesis: Principles and Clinical Applications, Edited by RA. Calderone and RL. Cihlar, Marcel Dekker, Inc., 1st ed. (CRC Press, 2001)
The rest of the suggested reading will consist of review articles and primary research publications. There is going to be given emphasis during this course on how to effectively read and interpret the literature first hand.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
• Demonstrate an understanding and knowledge of the molecular basis of microbial pathogenesis in relation to bacterial, viral, parasitic and fungal pathogens.
(Biomedical Sciences programme outcomes: A4, A6, A7, A8, A9, A12, A15, A16, B1, B2, B3, B5, B8)
• Comprehend, assimilate and present data and concepts on a pathogenesis-related topic.
(Biomedical Sciences programme outcomes: A4, A15, A16, B1, B2, B5, B8, B2, B3, B4, B5, B6, C4, C6)

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
• The ability to understand, analyse and assess published scientific data.
(Biomedical Sciences programme outcomes C4, D1)
• The ability to assess presented scientific data and concepts, providing constructive feedback.
(Biomedical Sciences programme outcomes B3, C6)
• Written communication skills.
(Biomedical Sciences programme outcomes B3, B4, C4, C6, D1, D3 D4, D5)


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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