This unit of study examines strategies of disease resistance and internal defence in prokaryotes and eukaryotes and their importance in the field of biotechnology. The specific aims of this unit of study are: to develop an understanding of the nature of immunity and resistance; to develop an understanding of the mechanisms underlying internal defence in organisms; to develop an understanding of the evolution of defence mechanisms in prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Topics covered include: the molecular and cellular components of the vertebrate immune system; innate and adaptive responses to pathogens; the evolution of metazoan immunity; the restriction modification system and other defence mechanisms of prokaryotes; hypersensitive response and systemic acquired resistance in plants; immunology-related advances in biotechnology.

Unit details

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RBF2300 - Microbiology 1

RBF2330 - Cell Biology

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Critically review the adaptive and innate immune response to pathogens in vertebrates;  
  2. Deduce and discriminate strategies of defence against pathogens in prokaryotes and eukaryotes;  
  3. Experiment with several immunology-based laboratory techniques including the ELISA assay, Western Blot and Immuno-diffusion assay;  
  4. Appraise and synthesise relevant scientific literature;  
  5. Investigate the principles of biosafety and bioethics within the context of cell biology practice.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Assignment Assignment 20%
Practicum Laboratory reports 30%
Examination Written Examination (3 hours duration) 50%

Required reading

Immunobiology: the immune system in health and disease. 8th
Janeway, CA, Travers, P, Walport, M, Shlomchik, MJ. (2014)

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