Skip to Content


Last modified: 13 Jul 2022 11:50

Course Overview

Why do some microorganisms cause disease, yet others don’t? This course explores host-pathogen interactions from bacterial, fungal, parasite, viral and host perspectives in a lecture series, examining virulence factors, host defences and immune responses.

Students develop a detailed knowledge of one specific host-pathogen interaction through self-directed study and working as a group to review a specific disease selected by the students. In addition, students will enhance their ability to work within teams and will develop their skill in academic writing, creating a group-written review article.

Course workshops discuss experimental design for analysis of host-pathogen interactions, virulence and evaluation of novel drug treatments.

The course materials will enable students to develop and refine their understanding of the roles of host and pathogen in infectious disease.

Please note that some of the material on this course may describe animal research and/or may discuss disease outbreaks.

Course Details

Study Type Postgraduate Level 5
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus Aberdeen Sustained Study No
  • Dr Donna M. Maccallum

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • One of Master Of Science In Molecular Medicine or Master Of Science In Immunology And Immunotherapy or Master Of Science In Biotechnology And Bioinformatics or MSc Microbiology

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?


Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

This course will explore host-pathogen interactions, examining the relationships from both host and pathogen perspectives. Topics covered will include fungal, bacterial, viral and parasitic diseases, host responses to disease causing agents, as well as clinical therapies. The course also aims to explore experimental design for analysis of host-pathogen interactions in workshops.

The course will be research-led and will focus on up-to-date research, exposing students to a stimulating and challenging learning environment, which will require students to engage with recently published research papers. 

The course also aims to encourage development of student critical thinking, through evaluation of literature and synthesising information into a review article.  Students will be assigned to groups and the group will choose a disease to write a review on.  The group will submit weekly progress reports on tasks assigned to team members and will monitor progress towards creating the review article.  This task will develop the team working skills of students, an essential skill for the modern workplace.  Students will also develop their ability to create an academic article as a group, another skill which will prepare the students for a modern scientific career, where most research papers review articles are created by teams of researchers. 

This course will develop personal and transferable skills to equip students for the research or other work environment.

Details, including assessment, may be subject to change until 31 July 2022 for 1st half-session courses and 23 December 2022 for 2nd half-session courses.

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

  • 1 Workshop during University weeks 26 - 35, 39 - 40

More Information about Week Numbers

Details, including assessment, may be subject to change until 31 July 2022 for 1st half-session courses and 23 December 2022 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

Alternative Assessment

Major essay 3000 words 40%

Workshop report short answer questions 20%

Infographic 10%

Online test – MCQ, short answer questions, single best answer, choose all correct answers, etc. based on lectures and experimental design 30%

Alternative Resit Assessment

Oral exam – 30 min to be carried out via Online Classroom (Collaborate) to test achievement of intended learning outcomes.

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.

Course Learning Outcomes

Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
ReflectionEvaluateWorked within a team, sharing tasks, monitoring progress and reflecting on team performance.
ProceduralCreateCreated a group-written piece of academic writing
ReflectionUnderstandIn-depth knowledge and understanding of pathogenesis of bacterial, fungal, viral and parasitic pathogens and host immune responses to these pathogens
ReflectionApplyAcquired self-directed learning skills
ReflectionEvaluateKnowledge and understanding of current clinical therapeutics for bacterial, fungal, viral and parasitic pathogens and drug discovery, including novel therapies
ProceduralApplyAbility to apply knowledge gained to the solution of theoretical problems and to communicate these effectively in group situations and in written form
ReflectionEvaluateCritical and analytical skills required for further studies in specialised areas of microbiological, immunological or related research.

Compatibility Mode

We have detected that you are have compatibility mode enabled or are using an old version of Internet Explorer. You either need to switch off compatibility mode for this site or upgrade your browser.