PHAR30070 Endocrine Diseases

Academic Year 2023/2024

This module forms part of the core curriculum in the discipline of Medicine in the Third Year for the MB BCh BAO Degree in the School of Medicine and Medical Science.

This module focuses on our understanding of the normal anatomy and physiological function of the endocrine system. How and why this system may become dysfunction and result in disease are illustrated in lectures and clinical workshops. The workshops use clinical cases to explore the major endocrine disease processes.

During the course, the student will develop an understanding of the physiology, pathophysiology and pathology of the endocrine system and therapeutic strategies aimed at treating endocrine-related diseases (such as diabetes, adrenal / pituitary / thyroid disorders, obesity, reproductive diseases, hormone dependent cancers, and also encompassing the microbiology and pathology of sexually transmitted diseases). This will enable the students to understand how we identify and diagnose endocrine disease, and to outline the therapeutic strategies and how they modulate the disease processes described in each system.

Please note that this is a multi-disciplinary module as illustrated by colour coding of the main subject disciplines in the timetable. All aspects/subjects of this module are subject to examination in the exit exam, subject to the evolving COVID-19-related public health recommendations.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

The learning objectives of the Endocrine Diseases Module should enable you to:

1. To gain an understanding of the endocrine system and the basic biology of hormones, their signalling pathways and their biological actions
2. To appreciate the importance of the hypothalamus-pituitary axis in the regulation of our hormonal systems
3. To gain an understanding of the anatomy/physiology of the normal functioning endocrine organs including the pituitary, thyroid, parathyroid and adrenal glands as well as the ovaries, testes, prostate and pancreas
4. To comprehend and describe the underlying pathologies of endocrine diseases including hyper/hypofunction of the various glands
5. To appreciate the complex functions of the ovaries and testes
6. To describe and distinguish the current treatment strategies and pharmacological agents used to treat and control pituitary & adrenal diseases, thyroid hormone disorders, parathyroid and calcium disorders, diabetes, reproductive function and diseases, and sexually transmitted diseases.
7. To understand and describe the mechanisms of action of these drugs.
8. To gain a comprehensive understanding as to the pathogenesis of type 1 and type 2 diabetes and current therapeutic strategies used to treat these disorders
9. To gain insight into the patient’s experience living with diabetes and the impact of various insulin formulations on quality of life.
10. To understand the basic microbiology and associated pathology underlying sexually transmitted infections including syphilis, gonorrhoea, herpes and chlamydia.
11. To engage with continuous professional development platform to help support your learning in the subject of endocrinology (continuous assessment via the BMJ tutorials).

Indicative Module Content:

The following topics are covered within this module:
1. Principles of endocrinology
2. Anatomy of pituitary, hypothalamus, thyroid, parathyroid, ovary & uterus
3. The basic physiology and pathology of the hormonal systems (adrenal, parathyroid, reproductive and pancreas glands); symptoms and causes of hypo and hyperfunction of the various endocrine glands.
4. The treatment strategies / major drugs used (and their mechanisms of action) to regulate function or alleviate or cure the major dysfunctions affecting the endocrine and reproductive systems
5. The basic microbiology and associated pathology underlying sexually transmitted infections including syphilis, gonorrhoea, herpes and chlamydia
6. The aetiology and treatment of obesity and diabetes is covered in depth in this module

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning






Field Trip/External Visits




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
The primary mode of delivery of content within this module will be through lectures including instructors from scientific and clinical / pathology domains.
Additionally, we have one flipped classroom style teaching session where students watch the lecture in advance of a tutorial session on the lecture content.
Clinical workshops which are case-based exemplars are included at the end of the module to help consolidate the learning outcomes of the course.
Self-directed learning using BMJ tutorials is also utilized throughout this module.
Finally, we have a patient advocate-led learning session where students will gain invaluable insight into the impact of living with diabetes and how patients effectively manage their disease.
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations
Learning Requirements:

Students are required to have a background in human physiology and
biochemistry and to have studied the Mechanisms of disease (med) module or a module with equivalent learning outcomes. They are also required to have studied the Systems 1 Endocrine Biology module (MDSA20030) or a module with equivalent learning outcomes.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
MDSA30210 - Endocrine in Health & Disease, PHAR30020 - Drug action in body systems II

Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade In Module Component Repeat Offered
Examination: Section B of final exam: short answer question 1 2 hour End of Trimester Exam No Graded No


Examination: Section B of final exam: short answer question 2 2 hour End of Trimester Exam No Graded No


Continuous Assessment: 5% Complete two online British Medical Journal learning modules
(from a choice of 10)
5% Submit tutorials' reports
Week 10 n/a Pass/Fail Grade Scale No


Examination: Section A of final exam: MCQ
2 hour End of Trimester Exam No Graded 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

• Feedback individually to students, on an activity or draft prior to summative assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment
• Online automated feedback

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Online automated feedback is provided to students when attempting the BMJ tutorials - students must score 70% to achieve the BMJ certificates but can take the test multiple times with feedback in between attempts. Group formative feedback session prior to the exit exam will provide students with a better understanding of the expectations of the exit exam. Formative Feedback individually to students by email or face-to-face meetings will be provided for queries they submit on the course content or questions over the exit exam. Feedback to students after the exit exam can be provided upon request.

Rang & Dale Pharmacology

Lange Basic & Clinical Pharmacology
Name Role
Professor Orina Belton Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Eoin Brennan Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Koon-Meng Chan Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Nicolas Deseez Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Peter Holloway Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr David Hughes Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Eoghan O'Connor Lecturer / Co-Lecturer