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Module

Project 2 - Fungal Immunology

Module titleProject 2 - Fungal Immunology
Module codeBIOM537
Academic year2020/1
Credits60
Module staff

Professor Alistair Brown (Convenor)

Dr Steven Bates (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks

10 (Project work will continue over the summer vacation period)

Number students taking module (anticipated)

10

Description - summary of the module content

Module description

This module is an essential component of the MRes Medical Mycology and Fungal Immunology and is linked to the co-requisite module, BIOM536 Project 1 – Medical Mycology.  You will select, and execute sequentially, two research projects: firstly, one in BIOM536 Project 1 – Medical Mycology, and then this one in this module.  Each module will give you direct experience of conducting cutting-edge scientific research under the guidance of internationally renowned scientists in the MRC Centre for Medical Mycology. 

In this module you will conduct an independent research project addressing Host-Pathogen Interactions that you have selected from a set of state-of-the-art projects that have undergone prior peer review.  You will be supervised by a member of staff and, during the course of the project, you will be expected to develop responsibility for the design, planning and implementation of the study, as well as analysing the data and reporting on the research project.  In some cases, successful project students have gone on to present their work at a scientific conference and/or publish in an academic journal.  Therefore, this project will provides valuable experience of managing original scientific research, from its inception through to completion.  This will be a valuable addition to your scientific training, and has the potential to enhance your employability and career trajectory.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The aims of this module are:

  • To familiarise you with the existing scientific literature in your study area, and teach you to assimilate this knowledge in a succinct and critical manner.
  • To give you experience of undertaking a substantial research project and to put into practice the knowledge you have acquired from other modules in the MRes Medical Mycology and Fungal Immunology programme.

By the end of this module, you will have reviewed and assimilated existing literature relating to your study area, and carried out a piece of original research (or research which extends our knowledge on a topic), analysed the results using appropriate methods and learned how to disseminate the results in an appropriate manner.

In addition the module will allow you to further develop the following academic and professional skills:

  • Problem solving: linking theory to practice, developing your own ideas with confidence, being able to respond to novel and unfamiliar problems.
  • Managing structure: identifying key demands of the project, setting clearly defined goals, responding flexibly to changing priorities.
  • Time management: managing time effectively, individually and as part of a research team.
  • Collaboration: taking initiative and leading others, potentially maintaining group cohesiveness and purpose.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Critically and independently assess the field in which your research project will be conducted.
  • 2. Independently design and present a means of dealing with a critical research issue.
  • 3. Follow systematically and consistently the phases of a research project, i.e. hypothesis generation, experimental design, data collection, data analysis and report writing using methods and techniques agreed with your supervisor.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. Analyse and critically evaluate essential facts and theory across a sub-discipline of the biosciences, and embed research-informed examples from the literature in written work.
  • 5. Identify and apply, autonomously and with originality, appropriate methodologies and theories for solving a range of complex and demanding problems in fungal immunology.
  • 6. Deploy established techniques of analysis, investigation, and enquiry within the biosciences.
  • 7. Evaluate in detail, and critique, approaches to our understanding of fungal immunology with reference to primary literature, reviews and research articles.

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 8. Devise, and sustain independently, a logical and reasoned argument with convincing conclusions.
  • 9. Effectively communicate arguments, evidence, and conclusions in a range of complex and specialised contexts using a variety of formats to specialist and non-specialist audiences both in the written report and in an oral presentation.
  • 10. Analyse and evaluate appropriate data and complete a range of research tasks independently.
  • 11. Evaluate own strengths and weaknesses in relation to graduate-level professional and research skills, and act autonomously to develop new areas of skills as necessary demonstrating the skills and attitudes needed to advance own knowledge and understanding.
  • 12. Reflect effectively and independently on learning experiences and evaluate critically personal achievements.

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

BIOM537 (Project 2) starts in week E003.  Earlier in the year you will receive a list of peer-reviewed research projects and potential supervisors, from which you will prioritise your choices. Following the allocation of your project and supervisor, they will provide the primary source of guidance on your project. You will then work with them to design and conduct your project.  At the start of your project you will receive inductions that prepare you for research work.  Your research work, data collection and data analysis will then extend from Easter into Term 3 and then into the Summer, with supervisory meetings held regularly by arrangement.

Your professionalism including your intellectual contributions project design, planning implementation, analysis, interpretation and report planning throughout the duration of the project, will be assessed against guidelines provided (research performance).  In addition, you will submit a final project report in the form of a paper that is prepared in the format of a specific scientific journal.  You will also present a talk on your project to two assessors, and answer their questions.  The module convenor will meet with you before these three assessments to provide guidance on their format and how best to prepare for them.

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad
305700

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching6Research and project inductions, and preparation for assessments – these inductions will be provided by the Centre Lab Management Team and the project Supervisor. The Module Convenor will provide guidance on the assessments: research performance, project presentation and project report.
Scheduled learning and teaching12Project supervisory meetings – as the project progresses, you will meet regularly with your supervisor (as agreed) to discuss your progress and refine your research objectives.
Scheduled learning and teaching12MRC Centre Research meetings – you will attend the weekly meetings of the MRC Centre for Medical Mycology where you will learn about ongoing state-of-the-art research in the Centre. You will also present your work in a talk to the 50-100 attendees.
Guided independent study570Additional reading and research. Experimental design, data collection, data analysis and preparation for the final assessments.

Assessment

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Short answer questions during meetings with the project supervisorOngoing throughout the moduleAllOral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams
70030

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Research performance10Ongoing throughout the moduleAllWritten
Project presentation2010-minute talk plus 15 minutes of questionsAllWritten
Project report (EMBO J style short communication)703000 wordsAllWritten

Re-assessment

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Research performanceNot applicableNot applicableNot applicable
Project presentationProject presentationAll2 weeks
Project reportProject reportAll3 weeks

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 50%) you will be required to resubmit your project report and/or project presentation, depending upon which component you failed. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of referral will be capped at 50%.

Resources

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • As agreed between you and your project supervisors.  Reference will be made to the most recent articles and reports in the field and will focus on the primary literature.

Also of use when planning and writing up the project will be:

  • Ruxton, G.D. and Colegrave, N. (2006) Experimental Design for the Life Sciences. OUP. ISBN 01992 52327
  • Barass, R (2002) Scientists Must Write: A Guide to Better Writing for Scientists, Engineers and Students.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Host-pathogen interactions, fungal disease, independent research, literature review, hypothesis generation, experimental design, data analysis, data collection, project management, time management, research methodologies, critical evaluation.

Credit value60
Module ECTS

30

Module pre-requisites

BIOM534 Medical Mycology

Module co-requisites

BIOM536 Project 1 – Medical Mycology, BIOM509 Professional Skills

NQF level (module)

7

Available as distance learning?

No

Origin date

17/10/2019

Last revision date

14/08/2020