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UCL Division of Surgery and Interventional Science

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Module Review- second year- Noor

Professional Medical Practice

Throughout this module we were able to develop numerous skills relevant to medical sciences and engineering. First we learnt how to write scientific papers, including critiquing research papers found in the literature. Following a talk on a novel medical device developed by Aspire CREATe, we wrote a persuasive report to develop our writing.

Medical ethics was also covered in this module as it is relevant in both research and clinical practice. To apply our knowledge of ethics, we delivered a presentation on the ethics of stem cell therapy.

A large portion of this module includes practical work to develop our lab skills. These labs taught us how to perform assays that are fundamental to any lab-based project. This includes cell culture, RNA extraction, reverse transcription, polymerase chain reaction and gel electrophoresis. In addition to lab work, we were given online lab simulations to complete. These simulations taught us the theory behind these assays in preparation for the labs.

Infection, Inflammation and Repair

Within this module, we learnt about different types of infectious agents including bacteria, viruses, fungi and protozoa. We covered the process in which pathogens spread, how they enter the body and the harm they can cause. Furthermore we learnt about different antimicrobial agents, including their history and the mechanisms by which they work.

As infectious agents trigger an immune response, we learnt about the innate and adaptive immune system, including the different cells and molecules released in the process. The process of inflammation and its activation is covered in depth, including activation due to injury. Furthermore, we looked at the role of inflammation in wound healing and tissue repair. Additionally, tissue engineering and regenerative medicine was covered.

Although the immune system protects us, we learnt about autoimmune and immunosuppressive diseases resulting from dysregulation in the immune system.

This module is taught with online pre-recorded storylines. After viewing the storylines, we have a weekly tutorial to discuss the content and apply what we have learnt.

The Nervous System and Neurological Diseases

This module is split into 4 sections:

  • Structure and composition of the nervous system
  • Biochemical features of the nervous system
  • Characteristics of neurological diseases
  • Evaluation of the nervous system

We had a lab session where we viewed brain samples located in the UCL Pathology Museum. Applying our knowledge of the structure of the brain, we determined the cause of injury, where it is located and therefore the symptoms it had caused.

We performed nerve conduction studies, where we measured the velocity and amplitude of nerves in the arms and hands. We learnt how to interpret these results in order to diagnose different peripheral neuropathies.

Musculoskeletal System in Health and Disease

This module covers 5 aspects of the musculoskeletal system: muscles, cartilage, ligaments, tendons and bones. This includes their structure, composition, development and function. We explored the different diseases affecting the musculoskeletal system along with their causes, symptoms and treatment.

In addition to lectures and tutorials, we had a lab session where we investigated electrophysiology of muscles and tendons. First we elicited tendon reflexes before recording electromyograms of the biceps and triceps of our peers. This allowed us to understand the concept of muscle antagonism. Additionally, we performed electroencephalograms from certain regions of the brain to identify different types of waves.

As part of the assessment for this module, we were involved in a group project where we enhanced the features of an Olympic athlete, such as engineering stiffer tendons, in order to improve their performance. We then created a website design to explain the enhancement.

Manufacturing Regenerative Medicine

This module highlights the manufacturing properties of different types of regenerative therapy products. The biological properties of these therapies are considered in the design and the manufacturing process. First we learn about the fundamentals of cell and tissue culture, including scale up models, before focusing on different types of therapies, such as stem cell and gene therapy. We apply these principles to different aspects of the body, including bone regeneration, neural regeneration, immunology and genetic diseases. Therefore by learning about different diseases and applying the principles of bioprocessing, we learn about how regenerative medicine is manufactured. For example, we cover genetic diseases and how we can use gene therapy to modify different types of mutations. Furthermore we learn the different materials and manufacturing processes used to efficiently produce effective gene therapy products.

Mathematical Modelling and Analysis 2

This module builds on the mathematical skills covered in the first year module. The mathematics taught in this module include:

  • Linear algebra with matrices and vectors
  • Systems of Ordinary Differential Equations
  • Partial Differential Equations
  • Laplace transforms
  • Hypothesis testing

As with the first year module, the material is delivered through a mixture of lectures, tutorials and MATLAB workshops. Within the MATLAB workshops, we learn how to form a code of the material we cover in lectures. For example, we learn how to solve a system of differential equations and differential equations with no solutions using numerical methods.

Medical Instrumentation 2

In continuation with the first year module where we learnt about analogue electronics, this module covers digital systems. Within the lectures we learnt about several digital components including microcontrollers, digital-to-analogue and analogue-to-digital converters, filters and control systems. Applying our knowledge from the lectures, we had weekly lab sessions where we built an ECG device using a microcontroller, Arduino and a signal conditioning circuit. This involved designing and building our circuit, formulating a code on Arduino and making the correct connections to obtain a recording of the heart.

Fundamentals of Biomechanics

Taught by the department of mechanical engineering, this module provides an introduction to the mechanics used to model, design and evaluate biomedical systems. The topics covered include:

  • Continuum mechanics theory
  • Mechanical testing
  • Models for blood flow in the vessels of the circulatory system
  • Kinematics of deformation and motion

For example, we model a piece of tissue, classify its material and material properties and calculate the magnitude of forces acting on it. Using the model, a suitable medical device can be designed.

Within a group project, we designed a novel hip implant suitable for children. We created a model of the hip and determined the materials and dimensions of our design. We presented our device and wrote a technical summary containing our calculations.

Module information contained in this review is correct at the time of publication. For the latest module details, please visit UCL's module catalogue