Pathobiology (saylor.org)

Pathobiology (saylor.org)
Free Course
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Have completed Introduction to Molecular and Cellular Biology and Introduction to Evolutionary Biology and Ecology.
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Pathobiology (saylor.org)
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.

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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.


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.



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MOOC List is learner-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Free Course
Have completed Introduction to Molecular and Cellular Biology and Introduction to Evolutionary Biology and Ecology.

MOOC List is learner-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.