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Immunology

 ​Contact Amal Amer​, MD, PhD
and  Stephanie Seveau​, PhD
Faculty Liaisons

 

Overview​

The defense of the host is largely the purview of the immune system, which is essential for the survival and well-being of humans. Failure of the immune system to respond leads to an inability to combat infectious disease agents, while an improperly regulated immune system can lead to the destruction of normal cells, such as found in autoimmune diseases or diabetes. One only needs to look at the devastating consequences of HIV infection to realize the importance of the immune system for protection against infection and tumors. Even normal immune function can lead to a pathogenic state, such as pneumonia in response to microbial infection. Thus, the study of immunology is central to an understanding of host defense and warrants a specialized transcript designation for students in the program who meet the requirements outlined below. This designation will be applied to transcripts for students who study in any of the following areas of immunology:

  1. Basic immunological concepts and immune system components
  2. Diseases arising from immune system insufficiency
  3. Diseases arising from hyperactivity of the immune system, and
  4. Manipulation of the immune system to restore or otherwise improve human health.

 

The core curriculum will provide the major foundation for graduate students in immunology, while specialized courses, elective seminars, and journal clubs will allow students to gain a more in-depth understanding of immunological concepts and rapidly emerging research in the field. The faculty that have expertise in immunology form a cohesive unit, but represent a range of departmental and college affiliations. A formal Immunology seminar series has been in place within the College of Medicine since 1978. Moreover a five-credit hour graduate course in immunology is team-taught each fall by faculty that are active in immunology research. These faculty members came together approximately 6-7 years ago to develop a single campus-wide course in immunology. The specialized curriculum that will be required of students requesting the transcript designation of Immunology has already been established and adjusted to meet the changing needs of research in this area.

Training Program Award

The faculty members with special expertise in immunology have outstanding national and international reputations in research and graduate education. The National Institutes of Health has recently recognized their graduate educational prominence by awarding this group with a highly competitive training grant entitled “Training Program in Integrative Immunobiology.” Virginia Sanders, PhD, is the Principal Investigator of this grant that will support both pre-doctoral and post-doctoral trainees.

Recommended Curriculum

In addition to the BSGP core curriculum, 10 Immunology credit hours (1 to 3) and a seminar presentaition (4) are required to receive an Immunology transcript designation.

Students must complete the following course: 

  •  CBG 7010/MICROBIO 7010 Molecular and Cellular Immunology (3 credits/SP). (Instructors: William Perry Lafuse and Abhay R. Satoskar). Cellular and molecular mechanisms of immune response, cell recognition and communication, molecular biology of cell recognition structures, cytokines, and effector mechanisms. 

Students must complete one elective from the following list:

  • CBG 8845 The History of Immunology (3 credits/every other AU). (Instructor: Dr. Jianhua Yu, AU 2017/2019/2021) Understand immunology and pertinent research, students must understand its history so to appreciate where the field of immunology started, the progress and discoveries made. MVIMG 7010 is recommended but not required. 
  • CBG 8010 Selected Topics in Advanced Immunology (3 credits/every other AU). (Instructor: Dr. Anjali Mishra, AU 2018/2020/2022) Students will gain significant insight into immunological concepts of infectious diseases, transplant, cancer, mucosal immunity, allergy and autoimmunity. Two or three topics discussed in depth, topics alternate yearly. Prereq: 7010. 
  • PATHOL 7847 Cellular Mechanisms and Pathogensis of Inflammation (2 credits/SP). IInflammatory processes in the human host due to interaction with viruses, bacteria, parasites, foreign antigens, or physical trauma and new immunological therapeutic strategies being developed. Prereq: MVIMG 701 or Microbiol 701, or permission of instructor. 

Students must complete a total of 4 credit hours, or 5 credit hours if MVIGMG 7847 was selected in (2), of Immunology Seminars and Journal Clubs including at least one Immunology seminar and one immunology journal club.  The courses from which to choose are:

Seminars
  • BSGP 7950 Host-Pathogen Interactions: Research Seminar (1 credit) (Instructor: Dr. Jordi Torelles AU/Spr) Faculty, students and outside speakers will give research presentations on microbial‐host interactions. 

  • PATHOL 8850 Seminars in Pathology. (1 credit)
  • MVIMG 7931 Research in Molecular Virology, Immunology and Medical Genetics (1 credit). (Instructors: Dr. Anne Strohecker and Dr. Thomas Ludwig) Student Seminar in Molecular Virology, Immunology and Medical Genetics. Student and post‐doctoral presentations of research.​ 
Journal Clubs
  • BSGP 7890 Immunological Research of Pediatric Diseases (1 credit/SP). (Instructor Dr. Mark Peeples.) Trainees will prepare and give presentations on current research on immunological mechanisms of pediatric diseases. Prereq: Enrollment in IBGP, and permission of instructor. Repeatable to a maximum of 2 cr hrs. 
  • BSGP 7900 Cancer Immunology: Critical Journal Readings (1 credit/AU). (Instructor: Dr. Xue-Feng Bai). Faculty, students and postdoctoral fellows will give critical interpretations of research and journal readings on cancer immunology. 
  • INTMED 8891.01 Seminar Allergy/Immunology (1 credit/AU). Discussion of pertinent literature and research projects in various subspecialty areas with emphasis on basic science concepts. Repeatable.
Presentations

Students must present the findings of their original research during their last year in one of the following courses designed for student presentations (registration is not required): 

  • BSGP 7950 Host-Pathogen Interactions: Research Seminar. (Instructor: Dr. Jordi Torelles AU/Spr) Faculty, students and outside speakers will give research presentations on microbial‐host 
  • BSGP 7972 Senior Seminar (Instructors: Dr. Maegen Ackermann AU/Spr and Dr. Frederica Accornero SUM). Faculty, students and postdoctoral fellows will give research presentations on cancer immunology.