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Unit information: New Horizons in Medicine in 2021/22

Unit name New Horizons in Medicine
Unit code PHPH30021
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Chrissy Hammond
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Physiology, Pharmacology & Neuroscience
Faculty Faculty of Life Sciences

Description including Unit Aims

This unit will concentrate on how recent advances in genomics and molecular biology can be exploited in the pursuit of personalised medicine through a series of seminars and workshops. The unit aims to develop an understanding of key concepts in molecular medicine through discussion of a number of disease scenarios including: cancer, cardiovascular disease, neuroscience and cystic fibrosis. Topics covered will include:

  • Genome editing through CRISPR/Cas9 knocdown/knockin technologies
  • Identification of mutations in individual patients and how these can be exploited therapeutically.
  • The use of animal models, from mice through to flies, to understand the cellular changes occurring in disease states
  • Using stem cells in regenerative medicine
  • Translation of findings from animal models to the clinic – bench to bedside

Intended Learning Outcomes

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

  • An in-depth knowledge and critical understanding of selected aspects of molecular medicine, with an ability to keep up-to-date with recent developments in the field and their application in a variety of disease scenarios.
  • An understanding of how genetic techniques (e.g. genome editing, genome wide association studies, transcriptomics) are being used in the pursuit of personalised medicine, and how these techniques are performed.
  • The ability to gather information from the primary scientific literature and to critically evaluate the material and appraise competing theories.
  • An understanding of the risks and limitations of genetic modification therapies.

Teaching Information


Assessment Information

Timed assessment 90%

The unit will be assessed through a timed assessment in May/June, which contributes 90% of the unit mark and consists of two sections. In Section A (50%), students will be expected to answer one essay question from a choice of 3, which will assess their knowledge and critical understanding of the field, and their ability to gather information from the primary scientific literature. In Section B (50%), students will be expected to answer one multi-part compulsory question assessing data handling/data interpretation and experimental design skills.

Coursework 10%

The coursework will be either an essay, data interpretation or experimental design question of a similar format to that used in the timed assessment.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. PHPH30021).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.