Pathology can be described as the study of disease. To understand the disease state, it is essential to understand the normal processes of the body. This course offers learning in specific areas of pathology covering some of the major diseases of the modern world. This includes cardiovascular disease, inflammatory diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, cancer, and haematological pathologies. A module on materials used to alleviate diseases of this type is also on offer. The course emphasises the importance of research and experimentation in the advance of our understanding of pathological disorders and how this and the latest developments in technology can be utilised for the benefit of the patient.

Research projects allow students to construct and develop novel ideas. They also promote training in how to plan, organise and to pursue a programme of work over a six month time period. The final report will require appraisal and evaluation of experimental procedure and data, the construction of new hypotheses and their subsequent defence and justification.

The aims of this course are to furnish our students with a thorough grounding in specific areas of experimental pathology. It is our aim to reinforce the biology and science behind clinical practice and to establish a more profound understanding of the value of research in the medical practitioners of tomorrow. It is our intention that by the end of the programme, our students will appreciate the importance of experimentation and technological innovation in modern medicine and that they will have gained a range of practical skills from pursuing a genuine research project. Completing this course will aid proficiency in transferable skills such as project writing, oral presentation, working as a team member and being encouraged in the pursuit of independent learning. Our students will be prepared also for the rigors of studying for a higher degree, should they choose to do so, later in their careers.


Programme Academic Staff

Programme Overview

The intercalated BSc in Experimental Pathology deals with a number of basic problems in general pathology, as well as providing an opportunity for the in-depth study of a wide variety of specialist topics in experimental pathology. Most of these reflect the interests and recent research of the contributing staff.

Your project work might result in presentations at national meetings and publications in peer reviewed journals.

Entry Requirements

The programme will be open to post second/third/fourth year medical, veterinary and to dental students who have passed all years to date on the MBBS, GEP and the BDS. It is not open to those who have previously undertaken an intercalated degree.

Students will submit an application and be interviewed, and will be selected on the basis of academic ranking and interview, in line with the procedure for all SMD intercalated degrees.





Learning and teaching

Each taught module will take place over a period of one term. The learning process is formal lectures backed up by directed reading. Modules in cardiovascular pathophysiology and cancer biology in addition have smaller group tutorials. Most of the lecturers are drawn from faculty where the emphasis of lecture content will reflect the latest research interests of the lecturer. In addition, lectures are invited from colleagues in the NHS and in some cases specialists from abroad.

Modules in cardiovascular pathophysiology, cancer biology, and experimental haematology also set course work in the form of essay writing and the marks go toward final assessment for these modules.

Self-directed study in the form of preparation for scheduled sessions, revision and wider reading e.g researching subjects from PubMed, is a key component of this course.

Sessions in experimental method and design, core laboratory methods, statistical analysis plus workshops in project writing and examination answer writing, from the Queen Mary English Language and Study Skills unit complement the formal learning and are designed to enrich the learning process.

At least half the learning time will be spent on a research project. The usual locations are laboratories at Whitechapel, eg, Blizard Building or the Pathology and Pharmacy Building, or at Charterhouse, eg, Barts Cancer Institute. All spaces contain state of the art technology and world experts in research and technological innovation and provide unique top-ranking learning environments.

The overall assessment is based upon assessing four modules worth 15 credits each and the project which is worth 60 credits giving a total of 120 credits. Assessment is through examination in the form of essay writing, course work for some modules and a project write up. This is summarised below.

  • Experimental Neuropathology: 100% examination, answer three questions from six in a three-hour examination
  • Cardiovascular Pathophysiology: 80% examination, answer four questions from six in a two and a half-hour examination PLUS 20% by course work (essay)
  • Cancer Biology: 80% examination, answer four questions from six in a three-hour examination PLUS 20% by course work (essay)
  • Inflammation and Special Topics in Pathology: 100% examination, answer three questions from eight in a three-hour examination where two must be from section A (Inflammation) and one from section B (Special Topics in Pathology)
  • Science of Biocompatibility: 100% examination, details from School of Engineering and Material Sciences
  • Experimental Haematology: 80% examination, answer four questions from six in a two and a half-hour examination PLUS 20% by course work (essay)
  • Project write up: a document of not more than 8,000 words marked by internal assessors.

All marking is done with reference to the recommendations of the Framework for Higher Education Quality (FHEQ) for level 6 released by the QAA. 

Programme Structure

Students will study the following subjects: experimental neuropathology, cardiovascularpathophysiology, cancer biology and either inflammation and specialist topics in pathology,  or science of biocompatibility, or experimental haematology. Each taught module is valued at 15 credits. Students must do a research project over semesters 1 and 2 which is valued at 60 credits.

Module content

1. Experimental Neuropathology (15 credits)

Neuronal cell structure and function, neurological defects acquired through head injury and other trauma, the clinical and pathological manifestations of neuro degeneration and the technology used to diagnose, investigate and treat the above e.g. genetic analysis, animal models and stem cell replacement.

2. Cardiovascular Pathophysiology (15 credits)

Normal development of the cardiovascular system during growth and aging, pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease with respect to mechanical load such as increased blood pressure or reduced flow, the epidemiological factors associated with vascular pathology and novel non-invasive measurement techniques to monitor abnormal blood vessel properties.

3. Cancer Biology (15 credits)

Importance of homeostasis and its deregulation in oncogenesis in terms of cell proliferation and apoptosis, the biological and molecular processes influencing tumourogenesis and metastasis, the clinical and scientific basis of cancer management and treatment via surgical resection, radiotherapy and anti-cancer agents used in chemotherapy.

4. Inflammation and Special Subjects in Pathology (15 credits)

An overview of inflammation (chronic and acute), mechanisms of inflammatory pain, the mediators of inflammation, the regulation of acute inflammation, the mechanisms of auto-immune disease and neuro-endocrine modulation of inflammation. The special topics in clinical pathology include sessions on the bladder, the gastro-intestinal system and histopathological diagnosis and monitoring of prostate and testicular carcinomas.

5. Science of Biocompatibility (15 credits)

An overview of the concepts involved in the biocompatibility of materials and their dependence on application, the range and complexity of biological responses to materials, devices and restoration, the range of effects that the physiological environment can have on material, device or restoration functionality and the methods used to assess biocompatibility and the associated ethics.

6. Experimental haematology (15 credits)

Normal haemopoiesis, the achievement of haemostasis and the diseases associated with de-regulated haemostasis, haemorrhagic and thrombotic disorders, red cell abnormalities, certain anaemias, bone marrow failures, the science and clinical aspects of blood transfusion, the clinical resolution of these diseases, the latest in genetics, and the molecular diagnosis of haematological disorders.

Research Project (60 credits)

Original research, supervised by a senior academic expert in the field, presented as an oral presentation and a written document not exceeding 8000 words.

Sessions in core laboratory techniques and writing skills are also provided though not assessed.

This will enable students to:

  • Apply cognitive skills to the role of pathology in describing the natural history of disease
  • Evaluate and interpret the way in which disturbances in the homeostatic control mechanisms that maintain normal healthy function, can lead to disease
  • Conduct a research project under supervision, collate, analyse and interpret data and present it orally and in written format, in a logical and coherent manner
  • To acquire and put to use a range of transferable skills required for the clinical research environment e.g. planning, team-working, responsibility, professional integrity, honesty and self-confidence.


Admissions and programme enquiries:

Dr Jurgen Groet

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Dr Paul Allen
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Professor Steve Greenwald
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