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Unit information: Pre-Clinical Science 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 Pre-Clinical Science
Unit code VETS10005
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Tristan Cogan
Open unit status Not open



VETS00002, PHY10100, ANAT10101, ANAT10102

School/department Bristol Veterinary School
Faculty Faculty of Health Sciences


This Unit introduces the principles of Biochemistry, Haematology, Microbiology and Immunology and has a large practical element covering the applied laboratory aspects of these subjects. Practicals are compulsory.


  • To provide a sound understanding of the fundamental concepts and relevant scientific principles underlying the subjects of eukaryotic and prokaryotic biochemistry, haematology, microbiology and immunology.
  • To teach the structure and function of fundamental biochemical molecules, their involvement in metabolic pathways and interaction in the whole living organism.
  • To provide the molecular foundation that enables students to understand techniques such as genetic manipulation.
  • To provide the molecular foundation upon which other pre-clinical or clinical departments will build later in the course.
  • To teach the more applied aspects of microbiology, including current knowledge of pathogenic bacteria, viruses and fungi of importance in companion animals in this country.
  • To teach the more applied aspects of biochemistry and haematology, including diagnostic laboratory procedures.

Intended learning outcomes

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

  • Demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the structure and function of basic molecules important in biochemistry, including proteins, carbohydrates, lipids and nucleic acids
  • Show a basic understanding of simple metabolic pathways
  • Give an account of nucleic acid biochemistry from gene to protein
  • Understand the importance of biochemical pathways in the whole organism
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the basic biology of the major groups of microorganisms and, with regards to the major pathogens of animals, describe the diseases they cause, the mechanisms by which they cause disease, their modes of transmission, epidemiology and control, and the principles of laboratory recognition
  • Demonstrate an understanding of safe working practices in the laboratory
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of correct collection, preservation and processing of pathological samples and specimens
  • Demonstrate an understanding of and ability to use laboratory equipment
  • Perform all the laboratory tests that fall within the remit of the veterinary nurse/laboratory technician in the veterinary practice
  • Apply the methods used for the identification of a wide range of veterinary pathogens and the laboratory diagnosis of clinical episodes of infectious disease.

Teaching details


Practical classes

On-line tutorials

Assessment Details

The overall pass mark for this unit is 40%.

Multiple choice questions (2 hour paper) (100%)

A failure in the above assessment will result in the student being required to re-sit at the next available opportunity.

Reading and References

The following are all held in the Medical School Library:

  • Veterinary Microbiology and Microbial Diseases, 2002, Quinn et al., Blackwell Science (excellent)
  • Biochemistry. Berg, Tymoczko, and Stryer. 6th Edition. 2006. W. H. Freeman & Co. (This is an excellent, well-illustrated and readable book)
  • Understanding viruses. 2009. Teri Shors. Jones and Bartlett Publishers, LLC
  • Brock: Biology of Microorganisms. 12th edition. 2009. Madigan, Martinko, Dunlap and Clark. Pearson Benjamin Cummings, USA
  • Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry. 5th edition. 2009. David L Nelson & Michael Cox. WH Freeman and Co. NY.