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CAMB 590-001

(Fall 2006 Syllabus -- will update with Fall 2007 when available)

T, Th – 10:00 am – 11:30 am

October 25 to December 7

209 Johnson Pavilion

Course Directors

Robert Doms

(215) 573-6780

Amy Decatur

(215) 898-2392

Ed Pearce

(215) 573-3493

“Topics in Microbiology, Virology & Parasitology: The Biology of Pathogens”, is to be offered to first year MVP students two times per week for one and a half hours over a six-week block in the fall semester. An exciting and unusual aspect of the course will be its integration of available information on viral, bacterial and parasitic pathogens.   General principles of host-pathogen interactions will be stressed.

The course will begin by introducing the major classes of pathogens and then proceed to focus on aspects of pathogen biology crucial for infection. It will be formatted loosely into four sections. Section one will introduce the major classes of pathogens, stressing general principles to all pathogens.  Section two will introduce entry strategies: how pathogens prepare to infect their hosts, and how they accomplish invasion.  Section three will ask how pathogens are disseminated within and between hosts. Section four will cover basic immune responses and immune evasion strategies.

Both classic and state-of-the-art papers will be employed as the basis for the course. Classes will be a mixture of lecture and paper discussion. Towards the end of the course, brief student presentations will be included.  An emphasis will be placed upon comparing the strategies utilized by successful pathogens from the three classes (bacteria, viruses & parasites).  Robert Doms, Amy Decatur & Ed Pearce will be responsible for directing the course. At least one course organizer will attend all the class sessions to maintain uniformity. The three course directors will give many of the lectures and lead the paper discussions; however, several expert faculty from the MVP program will also participate.

Grading: 25% class participation, 25% student presentation, 50% final exam. The exam will consist of a one-on-one question and answer session with the three course organizers.  Any student who does poorly on the final will automatically have a chance to re-take the test.  Example questions from last year’s exam will be provided on the first day of class so that students will understand the level of detail that they will be expected to know.

Blackboard site: All papers and class materials will be posted on the blackboard site, which will be maintained by Laurie Zimmerman.

Syllabus (organizer for each class is indicated)

Thursday Oct. 26 (Bob and Amy)

Introduction to class format (5 min); Introduction to viruses (35) and bacteria (35)

Tuesday Oct. 31 (Ed; Bob and Amy)       

Introduction to parasites (45 min); Discussion: general principles of pathogens

Thursday Nov. 2 (Bob)

Routes of penetration; general barriers that prevent pathogen penetration

Sites of penetration – Entry strategies of viruses – SARS, Coxsackie B virus

Tuesday Nov. 7 (Ed)        

Sites of penetration – Entry strategies of parasites

Thursday Nov. 9 (Amy)    

Sites of penetration – Entry strategies of bacteria – Salmonella

Tuesday Nov. 14 (Amy)   


Thursday Nov. 16  (Ed)

Vector transmission, dissemination between hosts

Tuesday Nov. 21 (Bob)    

Dissemination within the host

Tuesday Nov. 28 (Amy)   

Actin-based motility and cell-cell spread

Thursday Nov. 30 (Glen Rall)     

What is the immune system?  Innate and Adaptive

Tuesday Dec. 5 (Glen Rall)         

Evasion of the innate immune response

Thursday Dec. 7 (Bob)     

Evasion of the immune response; antigenic variation; inhibition of Ag presentation

Cover trypanosomes; other ways in which pathogens avoid the immune response

Friday Dec. 8

Student presentations

Tuesday Dec. 12 and Wed Dec. 13 – Oral exams