module specification

BE6005 - Biochemical Pathology (2022/23)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2022/23
Module status DELETED (This module is no longer running)
Module title Biochemical Pathology
Module level Honours (06)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Human Sciences
Total study hours 300
246 hours Guided independent study
54 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 30%   Comprehension Exercise
Unseen Examination 20%   Semester 1 Exam (90mins)
Coursework 30%   Written Report.
Unseen Examination 20%   Semester 2 Exam (90mins)
Running in 2022/23

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year North Thursday Afternoon

Module summary

This module will enable students to extend their understanding of disease and toxicity. They will study the influences of endogenous  and  foreign compound metabolism on pathology. Students will learn how these pathological processes can be modulated in the treatment of disease and poisonings. 
The aims of this module are aligned with the qualification descriptors within the Quality Assurance Agency’s, Framework for Higher Education Qualifications. This module aims to provide students with the opportunity to understand the principles and practices of biochemical pathology . This will be by  expanding a student's knowledge and understanding of  human biotransformations (metabolism) particularly as they influence the nature of disease(pathology) and toxic states (toxicology). Students will engage with problems in toxicology and pathology and study a range of topics including forensic, regulatory and environmental toxicology and metabolic pathology. They will be provided with an understanding of the key role of foreign compound (xenobiotic) metabolism in biochemical toxicology and given the opportunity to study the aetiology and treatment of disease and poisonings.

Prior learning requirements



Introduction: to include-historical perspective and the scope of toxicology such as forensic, regulatory and environmental toxicology.

Mechanisms of biochemical toxicity: to include- the role of ADME, Phase I (functionalisation) and Phase II (conjugation) reactions; factors which modify biochemical toxicity inter alia, age, diet,sex, species, genetic variation, component interaction; free radical mediated processes and heavy metal toxicity.

Experimental basis of toxicity: to include-use and limitations of animal tests such as acute, sub-acute and chronic tests, use and limitations of non-animal tests including the Ames test and use of organ, tissue and cell culture. LO1,LO2,LO3,LO4,LO5

Selected case studies: covering for example  organ-specific toxicity such as cardiotoxicity due to adriamycin, pneumotoxicity due to paraquat and hepatotoxicity due to tetrachloromethane, allyl alcohol or ethanol; mechanisms of specific toxicity such as immunotoxicity, radiation toxicity or oxygen toxicity; use of biomarkers to indicate specific toxicity; the role of forensic toxicology in solving crimes. LO4,LO5

Amino acid metabolism and the 1-C pool; folate metabolism and use of anti-folates; B vitamin depletion and elevated serum homocysteine in disease.
PUFA and steroid metabolism.  Steroid synthesis; roles in health and disease; therapeutic exemplars. Eicosanoid synthesis and roles of eicosanoid products; PUFA depletion; links to thrombosis and inflammation; phospholipase A2 and Cox 2 inhibitors. Nucleotide metabolism; significance of salvage pathways; diseases associated with changes in nucleotide turnover (e.g. gout; immunodeficiency syndromes including AIDS, Lesch-Nyhan syndrome).  Metabolism of carbohydrates and glycoconjugates; disease links (e.g. diabetes, Tay-Sachs, glycogen storage diseases, collagen synthesis defects). LO1,LO2

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Students will be provided with the opportunity to acquire knowledge of the subject material through teacher-led blended learning activities in the form of lectures and tutorials (40.5 hours, 13.5%) and practicals (13.5 hours,4.5%).

Students' ability to make critical evaluations will be developed through the analysis of source material and case studies (106 hours, 35.33%) supported by tutorial discussion. Students' ability to obtain and critically appraise data, and solve related problems will be developed through laboratory-based exercises (72 hours, 24%). Students will be expected to reflect on taught material in order to demonstrate their understanding of the principles and practices of biochemical pathology (68 hours, 23%).

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:
1.  Demonstrate an appreciation of how biochemistry underpins an understanding of  pathological processes and treatment strategies.
2. Synthesise information from primary sources on diseases and toxicity, including published papers and laboratory data; and use that research to produce a synthesis of ideas.
3. Effectively extract, critically analyse and present information in context.
4.    Undertake laboratory work in order to obtain and critically appraise data, and solve problems .
5. Assess case studies in order to demonstrate an understanding of toxic and metabolic disease, particularly with respect to ethical considerations.

Assessment strategy

The module will be assessed by means of a comprehension exercise (30% of the overall mark), an in-class seen essay (45 minutes duration and 30% of the overall mark), a time-constrained unseen test (90 minutes duration and 20% of the overall mark) and an unseen examination (2 hrs duration and 20% of the overall mark).

To pass the module, students need to achieve a minimum aggregate mark of 40%.  There will be an attendance requirement for the practical sessions. If the module is passed on reassessment, then the maximum mark awarded will be 40%.

Assessment component Learning Outcomes
Comprehension Exercise 1,2,3,5
Sem 1 exam 1, 4,
report 2,3,5
           Sem 2 exam                                    1,4,5


Ahmed N (2016) Clinical Biochemistry, Oxford
Gaw , A . ; Murphy, M.; Cowan, R.A.; O’Reilly, D.St.J.;Stewart,M.J. and Shepherd, J. (2008) Clinical Biochemistry, 4th Edition. Elsevier.
Hodgson, E (2010) A Textbook of Modern Toxicology, 4th Edition, Wiley.
Lu, F.C (2012)  Lu’s Basic Toxicology, Fourth Edition. Taylor and Francis.
Marshall, W. and Bangert, S. (2008). Clinical Biochemistry. 6th edition. Mosby.
Timbrell, J.A (2002) Introduction to Toxicology, Third Edition. Taylor and Francis.
Timbrell, J.A (2009) Principles of Biochemical Toxicology, Fourth Edition. Informa Healthcare.
Woolf, N., Wotherspoon, A. and Young, M. (2002). Essentials of Pathology. Wiley.