PATH30080 Disease Mechanisms & Pharmacological Principles

Academic Year 2023/2024

Disease Mechanisms and Pharmacological Principles (PATH30080) forms part of the core curriculum in the MB, BCh and BAO medicine degree and the BSc in Biomedical Health and Life Science (BHLS). The module consists of 4 four main thematic areas. These are (1) Basic Principles of Medical Microbiology, (2) Cellular Responses to Stress and Injury, (3) Innate and Adaptive Immunity, and General Immunopathology, and (4) Core Principles of Clinical Pharmacology.

Show/hide contentOpenClose All

Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

Theme 1 - Basic Principles of Medical Microbiology
1. Describe the microbiological characteristics of medically important bacteria and viruses.
2. Relate pathogen-specific virulence factors and host responses to the natural history of infection.

Theme 2 - Cellular Responses to Stress and Injury
1. Describe and classify the mechanisms and cellular changes seen in cellular adaptation/maladaptation.
2. Compare and contrast necrotic and apoptotic cell death.

Theme 3 - Innate and Adaptive Immunity, and General Immunopathology
1. Describe the structure and function of the innate and adaptive arms of the immune response.
2. Synthesise the involvement of the innate and adaptive immune mechanisms in response to infection and the
induction of immunopathology.

Theme 4 - Core Principles of Clinical Pharmacology
1. Describe the basic principles that determine absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion of drugs, predict the time
course of drug concentrations in the body, and assist in the design of therapeutic dosage regimens.
2. Explain the principles of drug-receptor interactions, understand the concepts of receptors and signal transduction
systems, and describe the basis on which receptor subtypes are distinguished.

N.B. There is a strong focus in this module on appreciation of clinical scenarios and you are expected to integrate knowledge from different parts of the course, including the self-directed learning aspects of this module, to solve clinically-oriented case studies as part of the assessment.

Indicative Module Content:

- Basic Principles of Medical Microbiology
- Cellular Responses to Stress and Injury
- Innate and Adaptive Immunity, and General Immunopathology
- Core Principles of Clinical Pharmacology

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours




Conversation Class


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning


Online Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Lectures (face-to-face)
Tutorials (face-to-face)
British Medical Journal (BMJ) Learning modules (online) 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations
Learning Requirements:

Students are reccommended to have a background in human physiology and biochemistry. This elective is only available to Health Science students.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade In Module Component Repeat Offered
Examination: SAQ component of 2 hour written exam 2 hour End of Trimester Exam No Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Assignment: Online submission of 3X British Medical Journal (BMJ) PDF certificates of completion in selected themed areas. Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Other No


Assignment: Reviewing histopathology websites and other resources, students will be asked to identify 2 images per topic (X2) that describe key pathological processes and provide a clear informative figure legend Week 7 n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Examination: MCQ component of 2 hour written exam 2 hour End of Trimester Exam No Standard conversion grade scale 40% No



Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring Yes - 2 Hour
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

The continuous assessment assignment worth 20% of the module will have a due date for the end of week 7. Group/class feedback will be available for the students 20 working days later. Towards the end of this module, there will be a formative assessment covering the styles of questions to be expected on the exit exam paper.

Robbins Basic Pathology, Kumar et al. 10th Edition (2018)
Sherris Medical Microbiology, Ryan et al. 7th Edition (2014)
Cellular and Molecular Immunology, Abbas et al. 10th Edition (2021)
Principles of pharmacology: the pathophysiologic basis of drug therapy, Golan and Tashjian, 4th Edition (2017)
Name Role
Dr Koon-Meng Chan Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Professor Marguerite Clyne Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Nicolas Deseez Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Professor Catherine Godson Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Mr Paul Holder Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Stephen Lalor Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Alexandros Sykaras Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Professor Cormac Taylor Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Mr William Watson Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Professor Bill Watson Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Eoghan O'Connor Tutor