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Unit information: Neurodegeneration and Ophthalmic Disorders in 2015/16

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Neurodegeneration and Ophthalmic Disorders
Unit code CSSBM1012
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Dr. Caldwell
Open unit status Not open




School/department Bristol Medical School
Faculty Faculty of Health Sciences


The aim of this unit is to introduce neurodegenrative disorders and how stem cells & regenerative medicine approaches are being developed as therapies for these. Content will cover basic science, such as producing specific types of neural cell from stem cells in vitro to the endogenous response to CNS injury through to pre-clinical and clinical applications.

This unit will describe: 1) The pathology of Stroke, Parkinson's, Huntington's and degenerative eye diseases. 2) Neural differentiation of stem cells in vitro and in vivo. 3) Basic research in models of these diseases. 4) Current clinical status or these therapies.

Intended learning outcomes

Students successfully completing this module will:

  • Be aware of endogenous brain response to neurodegeneration and how this might be harnessed toward therapy.
  • Be up to date with current stem cell and regenerative therapies being developed in animal models and in clinical use.
  • Be able to describe the techniques required to perform immunohistochemistry (including multi-label fluorescence) on brain sections and cells in culture.
  • Be able to describe the techniques required to investigate expression of various genes and proteins

Teaching details

  • Web-based Audio Lectures and Seminars.
  • Web-based tutorials/practicals
  • Self-directed study
  • On-line discussion forums

Assessment Details

Summative Assessment:

  • Coursework (contributing a total of 60% to the module).
  • 5 sets of multiple choice questions (MCQ) of a simple format (e.g. select an answer from a short number of options, true/false) each contributing 5% to module giving a total of 25%.
  • 1x essay contributing 20% to module
  • 3x short answer question sets or extended MCQs each contributing 5% to module giving a total of 15%

Please note that students will be given formative feedback on coursework assessment where appropriate.

  • Written Exams (contributing a total of 40% to the module and taken in Bristol)
  • Essay paper - contributing 27%
  • MCQ paper – contributing 13%

Contribution reflects time spent in each exam (2hrs essay, 1hr MCQ).

The pass-mark for the module will be 50%. However students will be required to reach a minimum standard in both their coursework and their written exam. As such only 5% compensation between the total coursework element and the total exam element will be allowed.

Reading and References

For each lecture, seminar, tutorial students will be given a reading list composed of journal and review articles, websites and book chapters. Due to the novelty of this field and the postgraduate nature of this programme we do not feel there are suitable textbooks to recommend for this module.