Michael J. Bevan
Presentations by participants of topics relating to the broad study of immunology. Prerequisite: graduate standing in Immunology. Offered: Sp.
This course addresses three main objectives: (1) to provide additional training in the critical evaluation of primary research reports, (2) to promote facility in formulating novel hypotheses and designing experimental tests for these hypotheses, and (3) to address certain central issues that for one reason or another are not adequately covered in Immunology 523. The course is required for all first- and second-year students in the Department of Immunology and is open only to these students.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
For each session, one student (or pair of students) is/are selected to provide a brief synopsis of a paper. This summary may make use of slides or overheads, and should clearly articulate the hypothesis tested by the authors, the experimental design, and the results that were obtained. During this ¡Ü15-minute presentation, the student(s) should also provide a critique of the study, noting weaknesses in the data and suggesting ways in which the report could have been improved. During the remainder of each session (the majority of the class time), we will focus on the development of a research proposal based on the paper under review. Come prepared to present such a proposal. ¡°Volunteers¡± will be invited to present their design to the rest of the class, who will then offer suggestions and present alternative proposals. The goal of this exercise is to develop facility in appreciating the implications of published work in our field.
A paper to be discussed will be distributed through E-Reserves each week, in advance of the following week¡¯s class. Each student should read the paper carefully, and become familiar with the questions addressed and the experimental strategy that was implemented. Identify pitfalls in the authors¡¯ approach. Are there hidden assumptions that might undermine the conclusions? In addition, consider the implications of the work. What research themes have the authors developed through their studies? What future experiments does this work inspire? Consider here not just the narrow spectrum of related experiments (e.g., strain- or species-specific variations, or the effects of alternative antigens, etc.) but the broader issues that a research program based on this work should address.
Class assignments and grading
Graded on a credit/no credit basis, except for MSTP students, who will receive graded credits.