Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 30 x 1h lectures
Practical 4 x 4 hours practicals (duplicated)


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Exam 3 Hours   Written examination  100%
Supplementary Exam 3 Hours   Written examination  100%

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the module students should

  • be able to explain key immunological principles and terminology
  • be able to perform and interpret basic serological and leucocyte tests.


To elucidate the molecular, cellular and organic components of the immune system; the nature and causes of its malfunctions; and the scope for intervention and exploitation.

NOTE: Practicals are an integral part of this module. They use cells and proteins obtained from rabbit and sheep blood, chicken eggs and killed mice. Students who object in principle to the use of animal tissues for teaching purposes are advised not to take this module.


The module is divided into a number of key themes each exploring fundamental and applied aspects of immunology. The mdoule begins with an Introduction to the fundamental principles of immunology. A variety of pathogens and their modes of attack are considered and defensive molecules, cells and tissues are introduced.

Humoral and cell-mediated immunity are then explored in greater detail.
Humoral immunity considers antigens, antibodies and specificity. Immunoglobin classes, structures, functions and distribution are discussed. The role and functions of complement are described and pathways of complement activation are discussed. The generation of immunoglobulins by B cells and antibody-mediated effector mechanisms are considered.

Cell-mediated immunity (CMI) is explored and key cells are discussed, eg killer T, helper T, gdT and NK cells. The importance of antigen-presenting cells and CD molecules are considered. The structure and physiology of the major histocompatibility complex is highlighed. The roles of cytokines, leycocyte migration and inflammation are discussed and killing mechanism are explored.

In Applied Topics in Immunology 1, the neuroendocrine influences on the immune system are explored and the development and decline of the immune system is considered.

The reproductive immunology theme explores the survival of sperm and the foetus and discussed lactation and passive immunity through the transfer of immunoglobins and leucocytes.

In Applied Topics in Immunology 2, tolerance and suppressionof the immune system is considered by exploring thymic education, suppressor cells and B cell tolerance.

The consequences of immunological problems are considered through exploration of autoimmunity, hypersensitivity and immunodeficiency. Developments in our ability to manipulate the immune system are explored using examples such as transplantation, vaccination and the exploitation of antibodies in vitro and in vivo.

The lecture series concludes with consideration of the role of model organisms in immunology (eg transgenic mice) and the comparative immunology of lower vertebrates and invertebrates.


1. Lysozyme assay; double immunodiffusion tests; demonstration of Rocket, SRID and IEP
2. Titration of haemagglutinating and haemolytic antibodies
3. Blood cells in health and disease
4. Use of antibodies in vitro: introduction to diagnostic tests (eg pregnancy test, ELISA, latex agglutination test and demonstration of Western Blotting).

Reading List

General Text
(2001.) Immunology /[edited by] Ivan Roitt, Jonathan Brostoff, David Male. Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 5