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Unit information: Neurodegeneration and Ophthalmic Disorders in 2021/22

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. Scott
Open unit status Not open




School/department Bristol Medical School
Faculty Faculty of Health Sciences

Description including Unit Aims

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:

  • Evaluate the potential of different types of stem cells in the treatment of neurodegenerative and ophthalmic disorders
  • Be able to describe the endogenous brain response to neurodegeneration and evaluate how this could be harnessed towards treatments.
  • Appraise current pre-clinical and clinical stem cell and regenerative therapies.
  • Be able to describe common techniques to investigate gene and protein expression
  • Appraise ways in which gene and protein expression can be manipulated in the central nervous system.
  • Be able to integrate current understanding of cellular pathways in the central nervous system and how this may benefit the development of new treatments.
  • Be able to critically analyse data and present findings

Teaching Information

  • Web-based audio lectures and practicals.
  • Self-directed study
  • Online synchronous discussions

Assessment Information

Summative Assessment:

  • 1x scientific poster contributing 25 % to Unit.
  • 1x essay (1500 words) contributing 35% to the Unit
  • 1x end of unit timed assessment which will occur at the end of the academic year and contribute 40% to the Unit.

Formative assessment:

  • Sets of multiple choice questions (MCQs) to support students engagement with the asynchronous materials.

Online synchronous sessions will provide support through the Unit including for coursework tasks. Students will be given formative feedback on all written assessments completed during the Unit to aid their learning.

The pass-mark for the unit is 50%.


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. CSSBM1012).

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.