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Experimental Pathology (Intercalated)

B160 BSC (Intercal) 1 years


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.

Admissions and programme enquiries

Dr Jurgen Groet
Email: j.groet@qmul.ac.uk
Dr Paul Allen
Email: p.d.allen@qmul.ac.uk
Professor Steve Greenwald
Email: s.e.greenwald@qmul.ac.uk


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

Experimental Neuropathology

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.

Cardiovascular Pathophysiology

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.

Cancer Biology

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.

Inflammation and Special Subjects in Pathology

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.

Science of Biocompatibility

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.

Experimental haematology

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

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.

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.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

Fees are charged at a Home/EU rate for UK and EU nationals, and an overseas rate for International students - find out more about how your tuition fee status is assessed.

You can either take out a Tuition Fee Loan (see Funding section below) to pay your fees or, if you are paying them yourself, you can pay in instalments.

Tuition fees for a year abroad or placement year on a full time undergraduate course will be a proportion of the full fee for the year in which you commence your time abroad or placement.

For information on field trip and other course related costs which are not included in your tuition fee, please contact the relevant Department/School.

See more general information about fees.

Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 7676
email: fees@qmul.ac.uk


Queen Mary has a substantial package of scholarships and bursaries which will benefit around 50 per cent of our undergraduate student body.

Scholarships and Bursaries available at Queen Mary for Home/EU Students

There are a number of scholarships and bursaries available each year for home students. Visit our Bursaries and Scholarships page for more information.

Visit our Advice and Counselling website for more information about financial support.

Scholarships available at Queen Mary for International Students

There are a number of Scholarships available each year for International Students including bursaries and scholarships in a range of subject areas.

Find out more about international scholarships.

Some International students may also be eligible for a fee reduction.

Loans and Grants available to help with tuition fees and living costs

Student Finance England administers all grant and loans for your studies if you normally live in England.

If you live in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland you have an equivalent Student Finance department for your region.

Through Student Finance England, you can apply for (figures relate to programmes starting from September 2016):

  • A Tuition Fee Loan of up to £9,000 to pay all or part of your fees
  • A Maintenance Loan of up to £10,702 to help pay your living costs like rent, food and travel
  • Extra grants if you have a disability or you have children or an adult dependant
  • You might get a grant to cover some travel expenses if you normally live in England but study away from home. If you’re a medical or dental student you might also qualify for help with the costs of attending clinical placements in the UK.

Visit Student Finance Information to find out more about:

  • How to apply for student finance
  • What eligibility rules apply, including if you already have a degree or previous higher education study
  • What the income thresholds are and how much you might personally get for each element of Student Finance
  • What to do if you have problems getting your Student Finance

Other financial help on offer at Queen Mary

We offer one to one specialist support on all financial and welfare issues through our Advice and Counselling Service, which you can access as soon as you have applied for a place at Queen Mary.

Our Advice and Counselling Service also has lots of Student Advice Guides on all aspects of finance including:

  • Additional sources of funding
  • Planning your budget and cutting costs
  • Part-time and vacation work
  • Money for lone parents

For more information visit the Advice and Counselling service website, or call +44 (0)20 7882 8717.

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