Who should take this course?
Immunology is the study of the immune system – a complex network of organs, cells and proteins that protect the body from disease (except when it doesn’t!). It is an evolving field that is difficult to understand and memorize making it a challenging subject to learn. This course focuses on introducing fundamental concepts rather than a comprehensive coverage of the subject. UG, ASP and PhD students who want to grasp key concepts of how the immune system works should consider this course. This immunology course can complement student interest / knowledge of cancer therapy, vaccine biology and infectious diseases.
What are the pre-requisites for this course?
It is mandatory that students have a background in basic biology. The immune system uses molecular mechanisms that are a part of cell and molecular biology courses, so these are a prerequisite for BIO-3443/6443.
What are the expectations from students?
The topics being covered are interconnected so it is important that students clarify doubts as we progress through the course. Students are expected to take active part in their learning experience and contribute to an environment conducive to learning by
- Staying current with any mandatory reading / videos / knowledge checks / quizzes / assignments etc.
- sharing thoughts, questions or doubts in class; actively participating in discussions
- being enthusiastic about learning the subject, being mentally and physically present in class
What are the learning objectives in this course?
After completing this course students will be able to:
- Identify components of the immune system.
- Describe how the immune system is able to discriminate non-self from self or harmful from harmless.
- Explain how the immune system is able to respond to so many different pathogens, even those that have not been encountered previously.
- Describe how diseased / infected cells are identified
- Describe the key processes in initiation of an immune response.
- Describe the general and specialized immune mechanisms used to control pathogens.
- Explain how immune cells move through the body.
- Describe some classic experiments that led to breakthroughs in our understanding of the immune system.
What is the assessment plan for this course?
Course assessment will be done using absolute grading based on the assignments listed below. This is tentative and can be changed based on the instructor’s discretion.
- Class participation (20 marks). This can be earned by a giving a short recap of a topic covered in the previous classes (students can use the instructor’s lecture slides), making a knowledge check quiz for the class, flash cards in Anki or by asking relevant questions in student talks (next assignment).
- Oral presentation. In-person (in class) or pre-recorded (will be shared with class) short talk on any topic or published paper related to the immune system. (20 marks)
- Written exam – 1 (20 marks)
- Written exam – 2 (20 marks)
- An immunology themed poster (hand drawn, no computers!), movie, poem, song, skit, learning aid (such as flash cards) or..anything else you can think of. This can be done in teams of two, creative freedom is encouraged. The goal is to share / teach something you are excited about (20 marks)
- Extra credit assignment (TBA) 10 marks.