BIO402: Pathobiology

Course Syllabus for "BIO402: Pathobiology"

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The purpose of this course is to explore the subject of human disease, placing special emphasis on the cause of disease at the tissue level.  We will pay close attention to the underlying mechanisms that initiate and perpetuate the disease state.  Much can be learned about the causes of disease at the molecular and cellular level; we will accordingly spend quite a bit of time examining molecules, cells, and tissues and determining how the disruption of their normal functioning by various known and unknown causes can lead to disease. We will begin this course with a basic review of molecules, cells, and tissues in the human body.  We will then discuss the body’s first line of defense, the inflammatory reaction, and the immune system. Finally, we will survey the body’s organ systems.  We will approach each of the systems by examining the ways in which a prototype disease impacts its functioning.  (These “prototypes” will be diseases that impact a large number of patients around the world.)  We will conclude by discussing what can be learned about a disease and the cause of death using an autopsy examination.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to

  • Explain how atoms combine to form larger molecules such as proteins and carbohydrates.
  • Compare and contrast inflammation, the innate (non-specific) immune response, and the adaptive immune response.
  • Define the term infectious disease, giving examples of causative agents and resulting disease states.
  • Differentiate between apoptosis and necrosis.
  • Describe how normal cells become immortalized to become cancer cells.
  • Compare and contrast diseases involving an overactive and underactive immune system, including SCID, HIV, allergies, and asthma as examples.
  • Explain how an autoimmune response leads to diseases such as Type 1 diabetes mellitus and lupus (SLE).
  • Explain how genetic diseases, such as cystic fibrosis, are passed from parents to offspring and the changes that occur to the cells involved.
  • Describe how changes in the skeletal system and skeletal muscle anatomy and physiology lead to the development of diseases such as osteoporosis and muscular dystrophy.
  • Identify the changes that occur in the circulatory system with atherosclerosis and myocardial infarction.
  • Outline the major changes that occur  in renal diseases such as glomerulonephritis.
  • Diagram the levels of damage seen with first-, second-, and third-degree burns.
  • Write a list of cellular and tissue changes seen with various diseases, including cirrhosis of the liver, thyroid disorders like hypothyroidism, nervous system diseases like Alzheimer’s, and in sexually transmitted diseases like syphilis.
  • Identify major changes that occur to a body postmortem and how the autopsy is used to recognize normal and abnormal changes.

Course Requirements

In order to take this course, you must:

√    Have access to a computer.

√    Have continuous broadband Internet access.

√    Have the ability/permission to install plug-ins or software (e.g., Adobe Reader or Flash).

√    Have the ability to download and save files and documents to a computer.

√    Have the ability to open Microsoft files and documents (.doc, .ppt, .xls, etc.).

√    Be competent in the English language.

√    Have read the Saylor Student Handbook.

√    Have completed BIO101: Introduction to Molecular and Cellular Biology and BIO102: Introduction to Evolutionary Biology and Ecology of the Core Biology Program.

Course Information

Welcome to BIO402!  Below, please find some general information on the course and its requirements.

Course Designer:  Amy L. Thompson, PhD, MLS(ASCP)

Primary Resources:  This course is comprised of a range of different free, online materials.   However, the course makes primary use of the following materials:

Requirements for Completion:  In order to complete this course, you will need to work through each unit and all of its assigned materials.  Pay special attention to Units 1 and 2 as these lay the groundwork for understanding the more exploratory material presented in the latter units.  You will also need to complete the following:

  • Unit 1.1 Assessments
  • Unit 2.1.2 Assignment
  • Unit 5.1 Assignment
  • Unit Assessment
  • Unit 5.2.4:  Assessment
  • The Final Exam

Notice that you will only receive an official grade on your final exam.  However, in order to adequately prepare for this exam, you will need to work through the quizzes and problem sets listed above.

In order to pass this course, you will need to earn a 70% or higher on the Final Exam.  Your score will be tabulated as soon as you complete it.  If you do not pass the exam, you may take it again.

Time Commitment:  This course should take you a total of 86.5 hours to complete.  Each unit contains a “time advisory” that lists the amount of time that you are expected to spend on each subunit.  These should help you plan your time accordingly.  It may be useful to take a look at these time advisories and determine how much time you have over the next few weeks to complete each unit and then set goals for yourself.  Use the time advisories to help you plot out your schedule of when you do each unit/subunit and on which days of the week. 

Tips/Suggestions:  It is important that you take notes for all readings, lectures, and learning tasks.  When available, you may choose to print out articles and take notes directly on them.  You may want to use the course units and their subunits to create an outline for your notes.  

Table of Contents: You can find the course's units at the links below.