Roland K Strong
Provides an understanding of the central cellular and molecular players in the mammalian immune system at a level appropriate for the non-specializing graduate student. Selected topics include the molecular basis of B and T cell activation and effector functions and the mechanisms of innate immunity. Offered: Sp.
'Immunity' is intended to provide an introduction to the basics of immunology and its associated jargon. The goal is to provide interested, non-specializing graduate students the level of comprehension necessary to read the primary immunology literature with some comfort. This course is not intended to constitute part of a core curriculum for specializing graduate students - those intending to pursue a career in the immunological sciences are encouraged to take the Department of Immunology core curriculum instead.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
The structure of the course will be: 1) readings from the assigned text (Abbas & Lichtman, Cellular and Molecular Immunology, 5th edition) and 10 papers from the primary literature; 2) individual, in-class presentations of the 10 assigned papers; and 3) participation in in-class discussions of the assigned readings.
The in-class presentations of the papers are to be a maximum of 45 minutes long, and are expected to cover whatever background material and experimental details outside of the actual paper necessary to fully present the results and conclusions. One would expect a good presentation to, of course, address all of the study questions. Given the arcane nature of modern immunology, good-faith effort, active participation and enthusiasm will count as much as getting everything right in the final grade.
Class assignments and grading
Abbas & Lichtman is an extremely readable, even 'breezy', immunology textbook, so don't be put off by the number of chapters assigned. I've assigned the first three chapters to read prior to the first class; these are very easy introductory chapters and will likely (hopefully?) be review for most of you. The papers have been selected to present a range of experimental approaches from a sampling of immunology; all are excellent, ground-breaking, even seminal, papers. So the goal will be more to understand the immunology and the methods, and less on finding fault with the experimental design, execution or interpretation (though one should always critically read the primary literature).
Final grades will be based on in-class participation, the paper presentations and (for those not giving the actual presentation) written, one-page maximum, replies to study guide questions for each paper. There will be no formal final exam, paper or project, unless there's a groundswell of demand for such.