AP0508 - Biology of Disease

What will I learn on this module?

You will learn the causes and consequences of damage to cells, including those caused by the generation of free radicals. You will increase your understanding of the pathological bases of cancer, such as characteristics of cancer cells, malignant and benign tumours, tumour suppressor genes, invasion and metastases. The introduction of the inflammatory processes in the human body underpins taught material in immune diseases later in the module. You will explore causes, pathophysiology, diagnosis and treatment of many organ disorders: cardiovascular disorders will provide information on areas such as atherosclerosis and hypertension. Information on diabetes and disorders of the reproductive hormones will be included in the endocrine section. Chronic obstructive and restrictive diseases will be taught within the respiratory disorders. Information on reproductive disorders will be taught within the section on infertility in men and women.

How will I learn on this module?

You will build on the knowledge and understanding developed in Level 4 modules and applies fundamental scientific principles to the understanding of the biology of disease. You will learn in this module through lectures and seminars by directed and independent study. Directed learning in human diseases through lectures and through problem- based learning in seminars by solving seminar case studies on human diseases. Lectures and seminars are supported with additional teaching materials (review articles and primary research articles) for independent study. The University actively promotes technology-enhanced learning through a pillar in the programme framework for Northumbria awards. All relevant information including the module guide, timetable, staff contact details and assessment will be posted on the module site on electronic learning portal. There are dedicated resources to each taught section in the module. These include digital on-line reading lists to instantly access key texts as well as the carefully designed assessment task details. An accompanying app is available that allows remote mobile access to the module site using your standard University login details. You can also submit your assessments electronically through the module site, and receive your grade and feedback electronically on return. A summary feedback on the whole piece of assessment will be provided, as well as annotations within the text of your assessed work, so you can see areas for further improvement. The feedback is aimed to feed forward so you can apply it to your future assessed pieces of work throughout your study. Formative feedback is also provided throughout module delivery, after lectures or during office hours. These are aligned to the assessment and feedback pillar in the programme framework for Northumbria awards.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Module tutors will provide support during office hours by explaining aspects of taught material, and direct you to relevant resources. The teaching team will also provide feedback on formative activities and summative assessments, such as oral presentations and written assignments. All teaching and assessment material will be posted on the electronic learning portal (eLP), and announcements regarding any changes in scheduled delivery will be posted on the module site and e mailed to all students. The university library is open 24 hours every day of the week. You can access the library catalogue online to check for availability of textbooks, and search for electronic journals. This will enhance your independent learning, essential for preparation for assessed work. You will be able to gain remote access to the library and module site through remote access with your university login and password.
An assigned year tutor for every level of your study will be an additional link between you and the rest of academic staff, and will address any issues your representatives raise during the course of study. You will also be assigned a personal guidance tutor, who will be offering academic and pastoral support

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
1- Explain the underlying basis of disease at the molecular, cellular, and pathophysiological level.
2- Gather and interpret information on the biology of disease from various sources, using appropriate citations and referencing.
Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
1- Develop effective communication of information.
2- Critically evaluate published research articles related to the biology of disease.
Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
1- Recognise and consider moral and ethical issues in research pertaining to diagnosis and management of disease.

How will I be assessed?

Formative assessment will be provided through in-class quizzes and clicker questions.
Part of the summative assessment (50%) will be in the form of written assignment that encompasses acquired knowledge and skills related to the biology of disease (MLOs assessed: KU 1, 2; IPSA 1, 2; PVA 1). Feedback on assignment will be provided electronically through the module site on the electronic learning portal.
There will also be an oral presentation as part of the summative assessment (50%), (MLOs assessed: KU 1; IPSA 1, 2; PVA 1).
Feedback will be provided on the content of your talk, your visual aids, and presentation skills.


Biochemistry; Anatomy and Physiology; Cell Biology & Genetics;
Introductory Pathological Sciences; or equivalent, or pre-module guided reading.



Module abstract

You will develop understanding of the pathological effects of cellular injury, and the consequences of changes in external environment and disease on the physiology of the human body. You will study diseases specific to organs in the human body such as respiratory, cardiovascular, endocrine and neurological disorders. The information studied in ‘The Biology of Disease’ underpins the modules you will study in the third year, such as the ‘Research project’, and ‘Molecular Cell Interactions’, as well as preparing you for a placement (sandwich) year. The module contributes to the wider programme learning outcomes of acquiring discipline-based knowledge, effective written and communication skills, as well as problem- solving and independence of thought. These transferrable skills will boost your chances for employability in many career paths, such as the pharmaceutical industry, teaching or postgraduate study.

Course info

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 6 years part-time
1 other options available

Department Applied Sciences

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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