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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Joan M Goverman
IMMUN 534
Seattle Campus

Central Issues in Immunology

Presentations by participants of topics relating to the broad study of immunology. Prerequisite: graduate standing in Immunology. Offered: Sp.

Class description

This course has two main objectives: (a) to provide additional training in the critical evaluation of primary research reports, (b) to promote facility in formulating novel hypotheses and designing experimental test for these hypotheses. This 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

To provided additional training in the critical evaluation of primary research reports.

To promote facility in formulating novel hypotheses and designing experimental test for these hypotheses.

General method of instruction

For each session, one student or pair of students is selected to provide a brief (20 minute long) synopsis of a paper selected by the faculty lecturer. This summary may make use of PowerPoint or overhead transparencies, and should present some background and briefly articulate the hypothesis tested by the authors, the experimental design, and the results that were obtained.

Recommended preparation

This course is required for all first- and second-year Immunology graduate students and is open only to these students.

Class assignments and grading

A paper to be discussed will be selected by the faculty lecturer and distributed by email, one week in advance of the discussion day. Each student should read the paper carefully, and become familiar with the questions and the experimental strategy that was implemented. Students should identify pitfalls in the authorís approach. Are there hidden assumptions that might undermine the conclusion? Students should also 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. Following this presentation, the entire class will spend about 30 minutes to provide a critique of the study, noting weaknesses in the data and suggesting ways in which the report could have been improved. The final 45-50 minutes will focus on the development of a research proposal based on the paper under review. Each student should come prepared to present such a proposal. The goal of this exercise is to develop facility in appreciating the implications of published work in our field.

Graded on a credit/no credit basis, except for MSTP students, who will receive graded credits based on written assignment.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Additional Information
Last Update by Peggy A. Mccune
Date: 01/19/2010