Parasites, Disease and Immunity 4Y option BIOL4089

  • Academic Session: 2019-20
  • School: School of Life Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

This course focuses on the major eukaryotic parasites of humans and animals, and covers how parasites cause disease, how their hosts attempt to control disease through immune responses, and the genetic adaptations in vertebrate hosts that affect their susceptibility to infection, disease and morbidity. 




There are normally one or two 2-hour sessions on Fridays.

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 2-hour examination (75%) and in-course assessment consisting of writing a science communication article (25%).

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

This option aims to provide an understanding of how parasites cause disease, and how hosts attempt to control disease. 

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ discuss how disease is caused as a direct consequence of parasites within the body;

■ explain how disease is sometimes caused as an indirect consequence of parasites within the body;

■ discuss the immune response(s) made by hosts to parasite infection, and the acquisition of naturally acquired protective immunity;

■ discuss and critically appraise the current state of understanding of the mechanisms used by parasites to evade or modulate the immune response mounted against them by the host;

■ critically evaluate and synthesise the evidence for the genetic control of immune responses to parasites; 

■ critically evaluate and present examples of major host resistance genes for parasitic infections;

■ critically discuss why vaccination might not be effective in all host populations.

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.