Molecular and Cellular Biology of Parasites 4D option BIOL4077

  • Academic Session: 2019-20
  • School: School of Life Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

This option will examine current molecular and cellular biology research that is being applied to understanding parasite biology, including protozoa and helminths. The course structure will consider parasite biology building from the cell outwards. We will consider what is known, and still needs to be understood, about parasite genome structure, gene expression, subcellular biology, cell and life cycle progression, and helminth development. The teaching will additionally show how such studies in parasites have informed wider understanding of core processes across all eukaryotes. In addition, we will consider how host and parasites interact, including host immune evasion and host cell invasion and survival.


This option is assigned to block S2-D. There are normally 3 hours of teaching on Fridays, which may be split over more than one session. 

Requirements of Entry

Normally, only available to final-year School of Life Sciences students in a Degree Group B (Biomolecular Sciences group) or Degree Group D (Infection & Immunity group) programme. Visiting students may be allowed to enrol, at the discretion of the School of Life Sciences Chief Adviser and the Course Coordinator. 

Excluded Courses



The course will be assessed by a 3-hour examination (100%), which will include a compulsory paper analysis question. 

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

The course aims to explore current research in the molecular and cellular biology of protozoan and helminth parasites. 

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course, students will be able to: 

■ Evaluate how genome analysis has advanced parasite research;

■ Appraise how gene expression in parasites relates to the host;

■ Discuss the function and evolution of organelles of parasitic protozoa;

■ Assess the importance of cell cycle control, differentiation and cell signalling to parasite life-cycles;

■ Discuss how parasites invade and survive in host cells;

■ Compare how different protozoan parasites evade host immune response by antigenic variation;

■ Evaluate how helminth parasites can manipulate the host immune response for survival. 

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.