Fundamental Immunology


This module provides a scaffold that students will use to connect the various concepts in the immune system and the individual components and terminology involved.  It begins by introducing students to the organs, cells & molecules of the immune response.  It describes the primary & secondary lymphoid organs, hematopoiesis, and the mechanisms of cell synthesis and cell death. 

This is followed by an overview of the key roles of the interconnecting innate and adaptive immune systems and how they collaborate to protect the body from pathogens.  The molecular and cellular mechanisms of innate immunity and the humoral and cell-mediated branches of the adaptive immune response are described.  The activation of B and T lymphocytes is explained along with the regulatory role of cytokines in these processes.  Antibody structure and the generation of antibody classes through gene rearrangement and class switching are evaluated, along with the roles of different antibody classes in binding antigen and mediating immune effector mechanisms such as complement activation, antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity, and hypersensitivity.

The module concludes with an introduction to diagnostic & therapeutic antibodies and vaccines.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Describe the structures and functions of the organs, cells, and key molecules of the immune system and the interactions between them. 

  2. Explain the key features of the innate and adaptive immune responses and describe the adaptive immune response to pathogens and following vaccine administration.

  3. Distinguish between the activation of B and T cells, outline the antigen processing pathways involved, and demonstrate the involvement of cytokines in these processes

  4. Give examples of the different classes of antibodies - describe how they are generated, their structure, and their respective roles in mediating biological effector functions and in hypersensitivity reactions

  5. Apply and condense the technical knowledge acquired in the preparation of posters and presentations, in the completion of assessments, and in the development of further knowledge, skills & abilities.  

% Coursework 50%
% Final Exam 50%