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Bioveterinary Sciences Study Abroad Programme

Our current portfolio of modules on offer to Study Abroad students includes a choice of 11 different modules and half-modules, covering an extremely broad range of bioveterinary science subjects. All of our modules use cutting-edge research as a central theme – helping immerse students in the scientific process as deeply as possible. This central theme is reinforced by the original research projects that are also on offer.

Depending on the semester (term), there are several different combinations of modules, some of which allow specialization in a particular discipline e.g. Advanced Skeletal Pathobiology & Comparative Animal Locomotion, Endocrine & Metabolic Syndromes and Advanced Reproduction & Development. As a guide, a typical workload for each semester would be one whole module and a project.

Dr Rob Fowkes (Study Abroad Academic Director)

Module Options

Advanced Skeletal Pathobiology

The purpose of the course is to introduce students to a broad range of skeletal tissues. This will touch on the anatomy, physiology and functional failure and on occasion include comparative aspects of the skeletal system across species. Throughout the course, examples of skeletal pathobiology will be used to emphasize specific aspects of skeletal function.
(Full Module, Wednesday/Thursday Term 1)
Pre-requisites: Basic anatomy

Comparative Animal Locomotion

The purpose of the course is to introduce students to comparative aspects of the musculo-skeletal system and modes of locomotion. Throughout the course, examples will be drawn across the animal kingdom, so students will gain an appreciation for the diversity of different movement strategies.  The course also has three uniting vertical themes that run through the course which are:

  1. Effect of animal size on its musculoskeletal design (scaling).
  2. Optimization of the musculoskeletal system for locomotor economy.
  3. Constraints on optimization because of tradeoffs and phylogenetic baggage.

(Full Module, Monday/Friday Term 1)
Pre-requisites: none

Infection & Immunity

The overall purpose of the course is to introduce students to key aspects that need to be considered when defining and controlling infectious diseases in individual animals and animal populations, using examples from virology, bacteriology and parasitology. Students should then be able to apply similar principles to additional pathogens of both animals and man.
(Full Module, Monday/Tuesday Term 2)
Pre-requisites: Basic microbiology, basic immunology

Animal Behaviour & Welfare

The Module will provide training in Animal Behaviour and Welfare Science.  The student will become familiar with the principles of these subjects, and will develop an understanding of how animals respond to different situations. The Module will encompass domesticated and undomesticated animal behaviour and welfare, but a major emphasis will be on companion animals and livestock species.
(Full Module, Tuesday Terms 1& 2)
Pre-requisites: none

Advanced Concepts in Bio-Business

The objective of this module is to enable students to develop a work-relevant, theoretical and practical understanding of commercial innovation, within the context of human and veterinary bio-medical sciences.  Put simply, to learn and experiment with the knowledge, skills and attitudes scientists need to assemble in order to play a more effective and integrated role during the development of innovative life saving and life enhancing provision.
(Half Module, Friday Term 2)
Pre-requisites: none

Wild Animal Biology

The module will provide an introduction for students to important topics in conservation as well as reviewing the basic anatomy and physiology of the non-captive animals. The module introduces the principle that decision-making (in conservation) needs to be based on science and ethics, and thus prepares students for postgraduate education in the field of zoo/wild animals.
(Half Module, Tuesday Term 2)
Pre-requisites: none

Parasitology of Human & Veterinary Tropical Diseases

This module provides an understanding of the complex co-evolutionary relationships between parasites and their hosts.  In addition it will illustrate, by experimental research examples, the ways in which the study of parasitic organisms have provided fundamental insight into molecular biology, immunology, pathology, cell biology and epidemiology.
(Half Module, Monday Term 1)
Pre-requisites: Basic parasitology

Practical Investigative Biology

This module has been designed to deliver an intense training course in cell and molecular biology, with a view to equipping students with the practical and design skills required to undertake research in areas of molecular biology. The two week module involves the completion of a ‘mini-project’, whereby the student will generate a plasmid DNA construct, amplify this in bacteria, purify and analyse the resulting DNA, then transiently express this gene in a eukaryotic cell line before analyzing the effects of it’s expression by cell imaging techniques (confocal microscopy and FACS). The learning environment is critical to the success of this module, and students will be closely supervised, with a staff:student of approximately 1:3 throughout the module. 
(Half Module, last 3 weeks in Sept.)
Pre-requisites: none

Endocrine & Metabolic Syndromes

This module provides a firm basis in the components of the mammalian endocrine system, and the mechanisms of action of different types of hormones. We will seek to integrate the basic science of endocrinology into more translational topics relating to the diseases and syndromes associated with disorders of endocrinology and metabolism. Having taught the concepts of endocrine signalling, the following units of study will focus specifically on clinical abnormalities affecting blood glucose regulation and feeding, growth and metabolism, endocrine-related cancers, and reproductive disorders including those affecting sex differentiation and intersex. In every unit, we will stress the importance of endocrine research in establishing the molecular and physiological basis of these conditions.
(Half Module, Friday Term 1)
Pre-requisites: Basic cell biology

Advanced Reproduction & Development

This advanced module concentrates on the veterinary applications of research in these two exciting fields and highlights how they make a real impact on animal health and welfare.

It is designed to give a veterinary perspective of fertilisation and development in animals. A variety of complementary teaching and learning formats are to be used throughout the module including lectures, laboratory-based practical classes, directed learning or tutorials, specific discussions and private reflective learning.  For most of the units the teaching format will be two lectures in the morning with a practical or directed learning class or tutorial or discussion. Special seminars by researchers and clinical practitioners will be held, exposing you to the latest cutting-edge research in reproduction and development.
(Full Module, Wednesday/Thursday Term 1)
Pre-requisites: Basic reproduction and developmental biology

Genetics in Action

(Half Module, Tuesday Term 1)
Pre-requisites: Basic genetics

Project Options

The following table gives an example of the depth and range of research projects on offer to students at the RVC. These projects would typically last a full semester, and would be conducted alongside modular activities as well.

Subject Area Project
Biomechanics Leg control strategies for stability in uneven terrain.
Biomechanics Ontogeny of walking and running in the ostrich
Biomechanics Hindlimb musculoskeletal anatomy of the female pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) and comparisons to male pheasants
Biomechanics The locomotor biomechanics of sprawling animals
Biomechanics How blindfolding, head elevation and sedation affect the kinetics of horses at walk
Biomechanics What’s in a walk (i)? Detection of a neurodegenerative genetic disorder from locomotive patterns in sheep using high-definition video data
Biomechanics The effect of lameness and regional anaesthesia on the locomotion of horses
Biomechanics How accurate are trainer-defined speeds (TDS)?
Cardiovascular Dietary fat and heart disease: Does the type of fat in the diet modulate inflammatory processes in macrophages?
Cardiovascular NOX signalling and ICAM-1 in endothelial cells
Cardiovascular To investigate CNP modulation of IFN-gamma signalling in human endothelial cells
Cardiovascular To analyse morphological changes in red blood cells during interactions between blood and endothelium under flow
Cardiovascular Role of CD147 in the heterotypic intercellular communication between platelets and endothelial cells
Cell Biology Tagging and Trafficking of receptor guanylyl cyclases 
Development Par1 kinases and the regulation of limb Musculo-Skeletal development.
Development Role of Sulf1 variants in embryonic development
Development The TGFb pathway in canine osteosarcoma
Development Development of the choroid layer of the eye in the chick embryo
Development The effect of waterborne oestradiol or atrazine on prolactin expression and pituitary morphology in the zebrafish
Development Do the chick and zebrafish display the same epithalamic asymmetry and laterality?
Development The role of FGF and AKT signalling in the cranial suture
Development The role of IGF and AKT signalling in canine osteosarcoma
Genetics Using genome-wide SNP data to find chromosomal regions associated with differences between two breeds
Immunology Function of structural domains of the Ikaros transcription factor
Immunology Investigating the role of the immune system in the progression of motor neurone disease
Molecular Biology Post-translational and epigenetic changes in human pituitary adenomas 
Molecular Biology To clone a human Vcam1 promoter-reporter construct into an adenovirus vector
Parasitology Immunoglobulin Responses of Northern Elephant Seals and Pacific Harbour Seals Naturally Infected with Otostrongylus circumlitus
Parasitology Investigation of the interaction between a nematode parasite, endothelial cells and the mosquito vector
Parasitology Parasitic worms: How they subvert the immune system to meet their own ends
Pharmacology The effect of NSAIDs on pericyte mediated regulation of vasa recta diameter.
Pharmacology The effect of altering extracellular nucleotide or nucleoside exposure duration on renal ENaC activity: a single channel patch clamp investigation.
Pharmacology Better bedside tests for the diagnosis and monitoring of recurrent UTI: investigations using a renal transplant patient cohort.
Pharmacology Is the P2X4 receptor a ‘significant’ regulator of renal ENaC and a determinant of BP.
Physiology Basement membrane deposition in FKRP (fukutin related protein) knock down mice.
Physiology Effect of metformin on fracture healing in rats
Physiology Signalling mechanisms in FSTL3 KO testis
Physiology Effect of FSTL3 deletion on muscle development and physiology
Physiology The effect of hypoxia on pericyte mediated regulation of vasa recta diameter.
Physiology Role of CXCR4 in bone development
Physiology Mechanoadaptive responses in the bones of FGF2 k/o mice
Physiology Mechanoadaptive responses in the bones of FGF2 k/o mice
Repro Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), prostaglandins and steroidogenesis in bovine ovarian cells
Repro Role of prostaglandin E in bovine oocyte maturation
Repro/Immunology Incidence and causes of early pregnancy loss in the thoroughbred mare
Repro/Immunology Regulation of expression of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) in the bovine uterus
Welfare Measuring subtle behavioural changes in domestic chickens
Welfare Public attitudes towards farm animal welfare
Welfare Validating a feline behavioural pain scale for use in a clinical setting
Welfare Developing pain scales for piglets

Further Information

See Bioveterinary Sciences Study Abroad Programme for details of timetabling, costs and general information about the programme.

If you have any questions or queries regarding our Study Abroad opportunities, please send them to studyabroad@rvc.ac.uk.

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