Molecular Pathology

Course content

The focus of the course is the study of disease, including the cause (aetiology), mechanisms of development (pathogenesis), and structural/functional alterations involved.

Topics include: cell injury, adaptation and death; inflammation and healing; cancer and molecular diagnostics; cardiovascular, immunological and neurological diseases.

There is a focus on definitions, terminology, and the description of morphological changes in cells and tissues, as illustrated by clinical examples. In order to fully appreciate morphological changes as a result of disease, the course starts out with a crash course in normal histology of relevant tissues and organs.

Furthermore, there is a strong emphasis on current pathophysiological theories and molecular disease mechanisms, which will be covered by lectures and critically discussed during student activating lessons.


MSc Programme in Molecular Biomedicine - compulsory



Learning outcome


  • Identify (microscopically) and explain the different forms of cellular adaptation, as well as the underlying causes (etiology) and mechanisms (pathogenesis)
  • Explain reversible cell damage and identify (microscopically) the different forms of cellular accumulations
  • Describe causes and mechanisms involved in the different types of necrosis and infarctions and identify these microscopically
  • Explain the different types of programmed cell death and autophagy as well as underlying causes and mechanisms
  • Explain basic cellular mechanisms involved in aging, such as senescence, loss of protein homeostasis, inflammation etc
  • Explain the connections between cellular adaptations, degenerations and death
  • Identify the vascular changes that occur in inflammation, their significance and the underlying causes and mechanisms
  • Identify acute inflammation, describe mechanistically the development of such a response (pathogenesis), as well as the underlying causes
  • Identify chronic inflammation, describe the pathogenesis, as well as the underlying causes
  • Explain the healing process, from regeneration to fibrosis, as well as causes and mechanisms decisive for the outcome
  • Explain the systemic effects of inflammation including shock.
  • Explain and understand the development and manifestations of the most common immunological diseases with a focus on hypersensitivity and autoimmunity
  • Describe the hemostatic process, including primary and secondary hemostasis, and explain its role in thrombus formation
  • Identify and describe atherosclerosis at the microscopic level, and describe underlying causes and mechanisms
  • Identify a thrombus microscopically and describe the thrombosis as well as factors important for initiation, propagation, organization and breakdown, with a focus on Virchow's triad.
  • Describe etiology and pathogenesis behind stasis and edema and identify the related tissue changes microscopically
  • Know the general tumor nomenclature and the most common tumor types
  • Explain the morphological criteria of malignancy and identify these microscopically
  • Explain the functional changes and characteristics of malignant cells
  • Know the current theoretical framework describing tumor development and metastasis
  • Explain the most basic clinical aspects of cancer, including grading, staging and diagnosis
  • Know the basic concepts behind genetic screening, molecular diagnostics and personalized medicine
  • Explain the most common degenerative and demyelinating diseases of the CNS, including symptoms, pathogeneses and manifestations
  • Explain the different types of diabetes and their clinical manifestations
  • Describe the pathogenesis behind the different types of diabetes and how they are manifested in tissues



  • Recognize, describe and understand basic pathological changes in cells and tissues in connection to a range of common diseases
  • Connect the theoretical understanding of disease development with the observed morphological changes in cells and tissues
  • Explain basic connections between disease manifestations and functional changes
  • Know the common terms and definitions within the field



The course should provide the student the theoretical foundation required to engage in critical reading and discussion of disease mechanisms and the capacity to relate basic knowledge to more clinical aspects of the relevant diseases. 


Lectures: 28 h
Microscopy lessons in normal histology: 12 h
Microscopy lessons in pathology: 14 h
CASE lessons: 20 h
Student group assignments: 8 h
Lessons for exam preparation: 2 h
Preparation: 328 h
Total: 412

Recommended textbooks are:

Robbins & Cotran: Pathologic Basis of Disease (newest version)

Ross & Pawlina: Histology – A Text and Atlas (newest version)

It is required that the student has a strong knowledge of cell biology. Knowledge of human physiology is an advantage.

All course materials, correspondence, and examination are in English

Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
Type of assessment
Written examination, 4 hours under invigilation
Only certain aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
Exam period

End of January (after Blok 2)

Criteria for exam assessment

The requirement for passing the exam is >50% correct answers (based on an overall assessment).

The student should be able to use the appropriate terminology to describe the normal histology of most tissues and organs, be able to recognize and describe relevant pathologic morphologic alterations at the microscopic level, connect this to molecular mechanisms involved and reflect about important functional consequences.

Moreover, the student should be able to convey and reflect about the current pathophysiologic theories and molecular mechanisms related to the development of the included diseases.

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 28
  • Class Instruction
  • 26
  • Preparation
  • 324
  • Exercises
  • 28
  • Exam Preparation
  • 2
  • Exam
  • 4
  • English
  • 412


Course number
Programme level
Full Degree Master

2 blocks

Block 1 And Block 2
48 participants
Study Board for the Biological Area
Contracting department
  • BRIC
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences
Course Coordinator
  • Henrik Hasseldam   (16-6d6a73776e70336d6678786a716966724567776e6833707a336970)

Professors and associate professors at SUND, primarily from BRIC.

Saved on the 21-09-2023

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