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MICa 8010

Microbial Pathogenesis

Fall Semester (even years)
8.30 – 9.45 Wed/Fri

Room: TBA

Course Coordinator: Peter Southern, Tel: 5-2141


This course will discuss the cellular and molecular foundations that underlie microbial infections and induced diseases. Each class session will begin with an introductory overview (15-30 min) presented by the instructor followed by a class discussion, based on selected journal articles. Students will be e-mailed reading assignments and background questions that must be answered by e-mail or hard copy to the particular instructor, before the designated class session. Students will be expected to have read the designated papers prior to each class session and participate in discussions based on their written answers and their understanding of the assigned papers. Class discussion will concentrate on derivation and validation of major concepts and the design of new experiments that could contribute significant additional insight. Contemporary technologies will be introduced into the discussions to illustrate the impact of genomic sequencing, microarray profiling of gene expression, and rational drug design. Throughout the course, there will be a consistent effort to identify and re-iterate the core principles of microbial infection and mechanisms of pathogenesis.

Recurrent Principles of Microbial Infection and Pathogenesis

Mechanisms of Transmission and Entry: Primary Infection
Genetics: Host and Microbe
Evasion of Host Responses: Extracellular and Intracellular Events
Spread to Secondary Sites of Infection
Pathology and Immunopathology
Acute and Chronic Infections
Immune Response to Infection/Vaccination
Therapeutic Intervention

The course grade will primarily be determined from a series of three written answers, submitted throughout the semester - details still to be finalized. You are strongly advised to review the “Writing-Advice-Examples” file and read the selected examples of high quality student writing from previous years. The overall purpose is to provide a clear indication of the 8010 expectations.

25% of the grade will be assessed for the “in class” presentation.
10% of the grade will be assessed from participation in classroom discussions.

Textbook Recommendation
Students who do not possess a comprehensive Immunology text published in the last 2-3 years are strongly recommended to obtain a copy of the Seventh Edition of “ Janeway’s Immunobiology” ISBN-13: 9780815341239. This text will provide a valuable general resource in 8010 to cover both innate and adaptive immune responses. Immunobiology is also recommended for Dr Jenkins’ Spring Semester Immunology class (MICA 8003). Access to any recent standard Microbiology text will also be useful in 8010. Although we will discuss properties of microbes that relate to pathogenesis, there will not be time to review basic microbiology. Students who are meeting Microbiology for the first time may want to refer to Mims’ Medical Microbiology (Fourth Edition) ISBN-13: 9780323044752, as a good current text.

Background Information for 8010
The following list includes topics and techniques that are prevalent in seminars, lab group discussions and in the recent literature. Are you familiar with the current importance attached to all of the listed items? Would you be able to give a spontaneous five minute explanation, using the blackboard in the classroom on all of these topics? If not, you would be well-advised to acquire some background and understanding of the topics that are currently unfamiliar to you.

  • Monoclonal Antibodies (MAb)
  • Transgenic Mice
  • Knockout (KO) Mice
  • Plasmids and Gene Cloning
  • Bacteriophage
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Fluorescence Activated Cell Sorting (FACS)
  • in situ Hybridization
  • Microarray Profiling of Gene Expression
  • Immunocytochemistry/Immunohistochemistry
  • Primary Cells
  • Immortalized Cells
  • Transcription in Eukaryotes/RNA Splicing
  • Metabolic Labeling
  • Commensal Organisms
  • Opportunistic Infections
  • Cytokines and Chemokines
  • Receptors and Tropism in Microbial Infections
  • Toll-Like Receptors (TLR)
  • Regulatory T Cells (T regs)
  • Epithelial Surfaces
  • Chronic Infections
  • Stem Cells
  • Interfering RNAs


Writing-Advice-Examples pdf