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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Biological Sciences : Immunology

Undergraduate Course: Stem cells, haematopoiesis and immune therapy (IMMU10011)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Biological Sciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThis course will provide a general introduction to stem cell biology, and will then cover in detail the biology of haematopoietic stem cells and their use in transplantation, with emphasis on the requirements for reconstitution of the immune system. We will start by considering the definition of a stem cell and discussing the different classes of stem cell (eg. pluripotent or adult). We will continue with discussion of how differentiation of stem cells is initiated, including the mechanisms such as short and long-term DNA modifications and re-programming of transcriptional machinery. Following on we will focus on the generation of leukocytes from stem cells:

Haematopoiesis: what are the steps, in the bone marrow, that lead from the haematopoietic stem cell to the different cell lineages found in blood and lymphoid tissues, what are their functions and what are the relationships between these lineages?
B cell differentiation: how is the antibody repertoire generated?
T cell differentiation: what are the molecular events in the thymus that direct differentiation of a lymphocyte-committed progenitor to a naive T cells with a defined functional potential that is nevertheless tolerant of self.
Therapeutic potential of immune reconstitution in the adult: what are the issues involved in reconstitution of the haematopoeitic system of adults after bone marrow or stem cell transplantation as therapy for diseases such as leukaemia or autoimmunity.

It is intended that by the end of the course the students will be familiar with key concepts in stem cell biology, and will have gained a good understanding of extrinsic and intrinsic regulation of the differentiation of specific haematopoietic lineages. The immune system serves as a useful paradigm to appreciate the complexities and pitfalls of cellular differentiation, and the course will act as a valuable introduction for students interested in the biology and therapeutic potential of stem cells
Course description This course will provide a general introduction to stem cell biology, and will then cover in detail the biology of haematopoietic stem cells and their use in transplantation, with emphasis on the requirements for reconstitution of the immune system.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites It is RECOMMENDED that students have passed Clinical Immunology & Haematology 3B (MSBM09004)
Students MUST have passed: Immunology 3 (BILG09007)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 30, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 66 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Longitudinal assessment.
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Basic understanding of the current field of stem cell biology particularly in relation to the haematopoietic stem cells and differentiation of the haematopoietic system.
  2. An introduction to issues surrounding stem cell biology which impact on use of stem cells as therapeutic reagents.
  3. Understanding of the biological issues related to successful reconstitution of the lympho-haematopoietic system in bone marrow transplantation (BMT), and of the use of BMT in current and future therapies.
  4. Attainment of advanced skills in reading and understanding the primary literature.
  5. Development of scientific problem solving skills and oral presentation skills.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Course organiserProf Clare Blackburn
Tel: (0131 6)51 9563
Course secretaryMr Tim MacDonald
Tel: (0131 6)51 7296
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