Liver Transplants: The Ins and Outs

What is a MOOC? 

A MOOC is a Massive Open Online Course - these are free, open, online courses designed to offer a taste of Higher Education to learners from across the UK and the world. The University of Birmingham is delivering new MOOCs in partnership with FutureLearn, the UK’s first MOOCs provider established by the Open University. 

Delivered by world-class academics from the University of Birmingham, the courses enable learners worldwide to sample high-quality academic content via an interactive web-based platform from a leading global University, increasing access to higher education for a whole new cohort of learners. 

The courses have been developed by senior academic staff and their content is quality-assured in line with our other programmes. The courses do not offer credits towards admission to the University of Birmingham.

Liver Transplants: The Ins and Outs

This course will teach you about the fascinating field of liver transplantation. We will cover the history of liver transplantation - from early experiments in the late 1960s to exciting new technological advances in organ preservation happening today. 

You will find out why there is such an increasing global need for liver transplants, and look at the science behind the operation and the drugs used to prevent organ rejection. We will discuss the intriguing and unique biology of the liver, explaining how one donor organ can help two patients in need, and how some people can eventually manage without any anti-rejection medication.

Lead academics

Trish Lalor is a Senior Lecturer and research scientist in the Centre for Liver Research. She has published over 50 research papers as well as reviews and book chapters in the fields of leucocyte recruitment, endothelial biology and liver disease. Her research has been supported by research grants from The Medical Research Council, The Wellcome Trust, BBSRC, NIH and The European Union and by collaborations with industry. Trish is a STEM ambassador and visits schools to promote science education and clinical research to a wider audience. 

Trish has featured in the University’s Heroes campaign

Zania Stamataki is a Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellow in the Centre for Liver Research. She is funded by the Royal Society to investigate the role of lymphocytes as vehicles for virus transmission. Zania is interested in defining the complex role of lymphocytes in persistent infections, both from an immunology and a virology perspective. 

Zania is a member of Women in Academic Medicine and Science (WAMS) steering group and the Athena SWAN committee. She is on the editorial boards of journals for virology and hepatology and is a STEM ambassador to promote Science and Technology for children and young people.

Course knowledge requirements
The course will be of interest to anyone who is captivated by human biology, transplantation, surgery or your immune system. 

Course duration
Three weeks. 

Course content
We will talk to the surgeons who perform the liver transplant operation; the clinical staff who care for the patients; the liver transplant coordinators who help to source and allocate donor organs; and patients themselves about their experiences of liver transplant. 

During this course, we will explore the major issues that fascinate us:

  • How is it possible to take an organ like the liver from one person and have it survive inside another?
  • Have you ever wondered about the ethics of organ donation, and how organs should be allocated?
  • Why is there such an increasing demand for donor livers for transplantation?
  • How can new advances increase the numbers of organs that are available for liver transplant?

How to apply

This free online course is currently running. You can join now at the FutureLearn website.

Interested in our other courses?

Find out more about our courses and research on our College website.