Bacteria are ubiquitous, and inhabit virtually every ecological niche capable of supporting life. Hundreds of bacterial species, both commensal and pathogenic, are found in association with the bodies of humans and other animals. Most bacterial species found in nature are harmless. Understanding how some bacteria cause disease requires a knowledge of those factors that render the bacteria virulent, or pathogenic, and also a knowledge of how the host responds to bacterial infection.
Bacterial pathogenicity may depend upon many factors and may involve many bacterial genes. The lectures in bacteriology will start by introducing bacteria as prokaryotic organisms, and then go on to address the basic principles of bacterial pathogenicity. These will include bacterial colonization, the production and actions of bacterial toxins, the entry of bacteria into epithelial cells and their passage through them, and the principles of epidemiology and control of bacterial disease.
The impact of parasitic diseases on man and his domestic animals can be devastating. The lectures on parasitology will provide a selected overview of the biology, immunology and epidemiology of parasites that cause diseases of major public health and veterinary concern. The parasites responsible for diseases in humans and domestic animals are an extraordinarily diverse group and include single celled protozoa and large multicellular nematodes. The manner by which these organisms gain access to their hosts and their interaction with the host are crucial components of the host-parasite interaction. In order to illustrate why many parasitic infections are serious and continuing public health problems, more detailed accounts of two major parasitic diseases, malaria and schistosomiasis, will be given.
Vascular disorders are major health problems in developed countries, and cardiovascular disorders are the leading cause of death in most Western societies. Vascular disorders are those resulting from abnormal blood flow to, from, or within an organ. The efficient circulation of blood containing all of the essential constituents is a vital necessity for the health of the whole organism. Any reduction in the blood flow through a vessel may lead to an inadequate blood supply, or ischaemia, of the tissues it supplies. If the ischaemia is sustained, then death of the tissue, or infarction, results.
This series of lectures will begin by providing an overview of mechanisms of haemostasis and thrombosis, and then go on to discuss atherosclerosis, heart failure and hypertension, and the causes and effects of ischaemia.
The word 'neoplasia' literally means 'new growth', and the lesion so produced is called a neoplasm or tumour. A tumour arises when there is growth dysregulation and an abnormal tissue mass is produced by cells that grow excessively and in a manner that is uncoordinated with normal tissues. Numerous factors have been implicated in the development of tumours. The lectures in this section of the course will look at the origins of tumours, the manner in which they cause illness and death, their epidemiology, the genetic basis of neoplasia, and the molecular basis of tumour therapy.