Academic year 2019/20
Owning department Department of Biology & Biochemistry
Credits (ECTS) 15
Notional study hours 300
Level FHEQ level 7
Period Weeks 1-31
Availability Optional unit on MSc Molecular Biosciences (Microbiology)


This optional unit is for students interested in the molecular and clinical aspects of microbial pathogenicity (in humans), infectious disease transmission and development of interventions, such as vaccines, that can be utilised to reduce disease.

The unit content particularly focuses on the pathogenesis of bacterial infections, transmission of infection and strategies to reduce transmission, vaccine immunology and the uses and limitations of vaccines to prevent communicable diseases. Specific case studies will highlight where the interactions that occur between a named pathogen and its host. Using examples such as Staphylococcus aureus (the MRSA superbug), it outlines disease management and how this is likely to influence the future evolution of the pathogen.


You'll learn how to:

  • discuss the pathogenesis of disease caused by a number of key pathogens and the nature of host-pathogen relationships
  • examine a wide variety of aspects of pathogenic mechanisms and host defences to pathogens
  • explore how host-pathogen interactions affect the evolution of virulence
  • critically evaluate the usefulness and development of vaccines for the prevention of disease, using examples
  • discuss other interventions for reduction of infectious disease.


After successfully completing this unit, you should be able to:

  • apply understanding to develop a critical awareness of the pathogenesis of disease caused by a number of key pathogens, the mechanisms of infection and host-defence and the emergence of virulence
  • apply conceptual understanding to analyse how and why vaccines are useful for the prevention of disease, how they are developed and the limitations in their development.

Find out more about this and other important University terms and conditions.