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Unit information: Biomaterials and their Use in the Skeletal System in 2012/13

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 Biomaterials and their Use in the Skeletal System
Unit code CSSBM0002
Credit points 10
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Professor. Uney
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 the student to the current and potential uses for biomaterial interfaces as they relate to the study of stem cell biology and regenerative medicine. Content will cover the principles of desirable biomaterials and the potential applications of these compounds in stem cell and regenerative medicine.

This unit will describe:

  • What biomaterials are and how they are produced.
  • Tailored 2-D and 3-D stem cell cultures.
  • Using biomaterials to improve stem cell transplant techniques and regeneration.
  • Illustrations of how biomaterials can be utilised in using stem cells within the skeletal system and specifically for skeletal diseases.
  • To provide a basic grounding in the concept of biomaterials.
  • To provide a basic understanding of tissue engineering approaches.
  • To inform how biomaterials may be used to produce desirable 2-D and 3-D constructs to study potential therapeutic strategies and improve their utility in vivo.
  • To illustrate the practical skills involved in biomaterial based cell culture.
  • To illustrate translational research where biomaterials have facilitated the used of stem cells in treating skeletal system disorders.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Students successfully completing this module will:

  • Be aware of the benefits and potential pitfalls of biomaterials approaches in stem cell biology and regenerative medicine.
  • Understand the complexities of 3-D cell-culture (tissue engineering) techniques.
  • Be able to describe the properties of a desirable biomaterial and understand how to grow cells on this.
  • Be able to describe studies where biomaterials have facilitated the use of stem cells in a clinical setting.

Teaching Information

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

Assessment Information

Summative Assessment:

  • Coursework (contributing a total of 60% to the module).
  • 4 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 10% to module giving a total of 40%.
  • 2x short answer question sets or extended MCQs each contributing 10% to module giving a total of 20%

Please note that students will be given formative feedback on all 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.

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.