Cell Communication and Disease

University of Reading

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Cell Communication and Disease

  • Host University

    University of Reading

  • Location

    Reading, England

  • Area of Study

    Biomedical Sciences, Microbiology, Molecular Biology

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations

    Upper

    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

    5
  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
    3
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
    4
  • Overview

    Module Provider: School of Biological Sciences
    Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
    Level:6
    Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
    Pre-requisites: BI1BA1 The Living Cell or BI2BD4 Life and Death of a Cell
    Non-modular pre-requisites: In addition to students studying Biomolecular Sciences and Biochemistry, this module is recommended for students with an interest in Molecular and Medical Microbiology
    Co-requisites:
    Modules excluded:
    Module version for: 2016/7

    Summary module description:
    To develop a deeper understanding of the role of receptors and signal transduction in the function of cells. This will include understanding how hormones, neurotransmitters, growth factors and other molecular messengers act and the roles of cell surface receptors, nuclear receptors and associated signalling proteins such as G proteins and kinases. To understand the structure/function relationships of receptors (nuclear and cell surface) and signalling molecules. To understand the methods used for studying these processes (both laboratory based and computer simulations/models). To understand where, and how, these processes go wrong in disease. These topics will be considered from both a pathway centric and systems view of the topic.

    Aims:
    To develop a deeper understanding of the role of receptors and signal transduction in the function of cells. This will include understanding how hormones, neurotransmitters, growth factors and other molecular messengers act and the roles of cell surface receptors, nuclear receptors and associated signalling proteins such as G proteins and kinases. To understand the structure/function relationships of receptors (nuclear and cell surface) and signalling molecules. To understand the methods used for studying these processes (both laboratory based and computer simulations/models). To understand where, and how, these processes go wrong in disease. These topics will be considered from both a pathway centric and systems view of the topic.

    Assessable learning outcomes:
    By the end of the module students will be able to:
    (i) Describe the structure and discuss the function of the main classes of receptors and signalling molecules and the methods used to study these.
    (ii) Critically analyse and deduce signalling pathways based on experimental data on their constitutive components.
    (iii) Critically evaluate scientific literature on the topic of the course.
    (iv) Gain an understanding of how computational modelling can be used to analyse signalling pathways in health and disease.
    Additional outcomes:
    Students will improve their problem solving and data handling skills and have a better understanding of how to extract and present relevant information from primary research papers.

    Outline content:
    This unit provides an overview of current knowledge and understanding of receptors and their role in the actions of hormones, neurotransmitters, growth factors and other molecular messengers. The course will be introduced with a general discussion of cell signalling mechanisms and the concepts underlying cell signalling. The following topics will be discussed in detail in subsequent lectures: nuclear receptors, superfamilies of cell surface receptors (G protein-coupled, protein tyrosine kinase), detailed discussion of G protein-coupled receptors and G-proteins and associated signalling proteins (adenylyl cyclase, phospholipase C), tyrosine kinase-linked receptors, kinases and phosphatases, MAP kinase signalling and lipid signalling (PI 3-kinase). This will all be placed in the context of normal signalling and compared to what goes wrong in many diseases. Pathway modelling software will be used to illustrate how changing the activity of a single component of a pathway can have major consequences for the cell. The course will be backed up by a data handling session, analysis of signalling pathways through problem classes and discussion classes on relevant literature, concentrating particularly on the experimental methods used in signal transduction research. The final session of the course will be a problem-based course review involving a class project modelling of a signalling pathway which will be linked to the student presentations.

    Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
    Lectures, Data Handling and Problem Classes, Group Discussions on Relevant Literature and a student led pathway modelling project.

    Contact hours:
    Lectures- 10
    Tutorials- 10
    Practicals classes and workshops- 4
    Guided independent study- 60
    Total hours by term- 100
    Total hours for module- 100

    Summative Assessment Methods:
    Written exam- 70%
    Set exercise- 15%
    Class test administered by School- 15%

    Other information on summative assessment:
    A short class group presentation on a signalling molecule plus a simple process diagram showing how the molecule integrates into the pathway understudy (to be submitted by the end of enhancement week and to be assessed in class in the 4 weeks after enhancement week MCQ (together worth 15%) and several online tests on discussed literature (worth 15%).

    Length of examination:
    Two hour examination

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Re-examination in August / September

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

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ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credits are converted to semester credits/quarter units differently among U.S. universities. Students should confirm the conversion scale used at their home university when determining credit transfer.

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Please note that some courses with locals have recommended prerequisite courses. It is the student's responsibility to consult any recommended prerequisites prior to enrolling in their course.