Division of Biology and Medicine
Molecular Microbiology & Immunology


View a sampling of courses offered by the Department.

AIDS represents an example of the vulnerability of humans to new infectious agents. We will review some human infectious diseases including small pox yellow fever and influenza and then explore AIDS/HIV. First characterized in 1981 AIDS, became the leading cause of death in U.S. males aged 25-44 in within a decade. We will examine what factors make HIV such a potent pathogen. The course is intended for students beginning in biology. Expected: BIOL 0200, or equivalent placement (Test or AP credit). This course does carry Biology concentration credit.

Introduces role of microbes in our understanding of biology at the cellular and molecular level. Focuses on microbial significance for infectious disease, public health, genetics, biotechnology, and biogeochemical cycles. Laboratory involves basic microbiological techniques and selection and manipulation of microbes and their genes. Expected: BIOL 0200 or equivalent; CHEM 0330. Students MUST register for the lecture section and the lab.

Introduction to experimental and theoretical foundations of immunology. Focuses on concepts, landmark experiments and recent advances. Topics include innate and adaptive immunity; structure/function of antibody molecules and T cell receptors; regulation of immune responses through cellular interactions. Applications of concepts to medically significant issues (vaccines, transplantation, inflammation, autoimmunity, cancer, HIV/AIDS) are discussed. Interpretative analysis of experimental data is emphasized. Expected background: BIOL 0200 or equivalent placement credit.

Innate immunity is the initial response to microbes that prevents infection of the host. It acts within minutes to hours, allowing the development of the adaptive response in vertebrates. It is the sole mechanism of defense in invertebrates such as insects. The components and mechanisms dictating this response are explored. Expected: BIOL 0530, or 1550.

Emerging diseases influence the health of human populations in less developed countries and are expected to have similar effects worldwide. Rising incidence of "new" diseases underscores the need for knowledge of infection mechanisms and their outcomes. Focuses on biochemical, genetic, cellular and immunological events of emerging pathogens and host responses. Expected: BIOL 0470 or BIOL 0530.

Emphasizes the understanding of molecular mechanisms of viral pathogenesis. Begins with a general introduction to the field of virology and then focuses on the molecular biology of specific viruses that are associated with human disease. Lectures based on current literature. Expected: BIOL 0280, 0470 or BIOL 0530.

Provides background on steps involved in vaccine development, from conceptualization to production to immunization. Considers infectious diseases and their associated vaccines in the context of community health. Appropriate for any student wanting to gain an understanding of vaccine science, and also provides a foundation for other advanced courses in immunology and infectious disease, biomedical research, or medical/graduate studies. Activities include an in–class presentation and a research paper on a topic chosen by the student. Expected: BIOL 0200 or equivalent placement; BIOL 530, and at least one additional biology course.

Viral Immunology is an advanced topics course in Microbiology and Immunology which will be focused on viral immunology. Weekly meetings will cover different issues concerning defense against viral infections and pathology related to viral infection, with focus on viral-host interactions. Topics will be selected to present either important basic concepts in the context of immune responses and/or major challenges in controlling viral infections. Recent advances in understanding virus-host interactions, host responses to viruses, cytokine regulation of immune responses or cytokine-mediated pathology during viral infections will be emphasized.

Examines microbial pathogens and the underlying mechanisms by which infectious organisms cause diseases. Bacterial, fungal, protozoal and viral pathogens will be studied using tools of modern biology. Also examined are the host's immune responses to infection and disease. Areas covered include mechanisms of pathogen internationalization and survival, immune responses, signal transduction and pathophysiology. It is expected that students will have taken: BI 51, 53, or 155.