Immune Systems: From Molecules to Populations
Professor/InstructorAndrea Linn Graham
Why is there immunological polymorphism in animal populations? Why do immune systems work as they do? This course examines the theories of host-parasite coevolution, including optimal host resource allocation to immune defense in light of parasite counter-strategies, and assesses the empirical evidence by which these theories are tested. Students look at the evolutionary ecology of mechanisms used by immune systems to recognize and kill parasites, finding similarities across animal taxa. Finally, students will map immune mechanisms onto host phylogenies to understand the order in which different mechanisms arose over evolutionary time.
Ecology and Epidemiology of Parasites and Infectious Diseases
Professor/InstructorAndrew P. Dobson
An introduction to the biology of viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoa, worms, arthropods, and plants that are parasitic upon other animal and plant species. The major emphasis will be on the parasites of animals and plants, with further study of the epidemiology of infectious diseases in human populations. Studies of AIDS, anthrax, and worms, and their role in human history, will be complemented by ecological and evolutionary studies of mistletoe, measles, myxomatosis, and communities of parasitic helminths. Limited to students in the Tropical Ecology Program in Panama.
Economics of Health and Health Care
This course will provide an opportunity to apply the concepts and methods studied in economics core courses to analyze selected topics in health economics. Topics will change from year to year. Prerequisites depend on topic. Two 90-minute lectures.
Critical Perspectives in Global Health
Introduces disease and healthcare problems worldwide and examines efforts to address them. Via an interdisciplinary approach, identifies the main actors, institutions, knowledge, and values at play in the "global health system", and explores the environmental, social, political, and economic factors that shape patterns and variations in disease and health across societies. Topics include: development and governance of disease; technological change and public health; human rights and social justice; measuring health outcomes; and the shifting role of states, civil society, and public-private partnerships in healthcare delivery. Two lectures.
Epidemiology: An Ecological and Evolutionary Perspective
Professor/InstructorJoseph J. Amon
Focuses on the distribution and determinants of disease. Diverse methodological approaches for measuring health status, disease occurrence, and the association between risk factors and health outcomes will be presented via classic and contemporary studies of chronic and infectious illness and disease outbreaks. Emphasis on: causal inference, study design and sampling, bias and confounding, the generalizability of research, health policy and research ethics. Prerequisite: an approved basic statistics course. Two 90-minute lectures, one preceptorial.
Race and Medicine
Professor/InstructorCarolyn M. Rouse
This course examines culture's role in reproducing health inequalities in the United States. Different populations have very different levels of access to care, environmental exposures, and cultural beliefs about health and well-being. Institutional cultures also influence how different patients are treated, how evidence is used to determine treatments, and how healthcare priorities are articulated and funded. Additionally, this course explores how medical care is influenced at a national level by health policies. These factors ultimately impact population health and patients' experiences with life, death and chronic disease.
Molecular Basis of Cancer
We will explore the molecular events leading to the onset and progression of human cancer. We will review the central genetic and biochemical elements that make up the cell cycle, followed by a survey of the signal transduction pathways and checkpoints that regulate it. We will discuss oncogenes, tumor suppressor and mutator genes that act in these pathways and review the role of viral oncogenes and their action on cells. We will investigate the role of cancer stem cells and the interaction between tumor and the host environment. We will explore specific clinical case studies in light of the molecular events underlying different cancers.
Infection: Biology, Burden, Policy
Professor/InstructorThomas Eugene Shenk
This course will examine fundamental determinants of human microbe interaction at the biological and ecological levels. The focus will be on major global infectious diseases, their burden of illness and policy challenges for adequate prevention and control. Each infectious agent will be discussed in terms of its biology, mechanisms of pathogenesis, and epidemiology, as well as strategies for its control. Specific emphasis will be placed on the public health aspects of each disease. Prerequisite: MOL 101, MOL 214, or permission of instructor. One three-hour lecture.
This course will consider the principles, development, outcomes and future directions of therapeutic applications of biotechnology, with particular emphasis on the interplay between basic research and clinical experience. Topics to be discussed include production of hormones and other therapeutic proteins, gene therapy, oncolytic viruses, and stem cells. Reading will be from the primary literature. Prerequisite: MOL 214.
Neuroimmunology: Immune Molecules in Normal Brain Function and Neuropathology
Professor/InstructorLisa M. Boulanger
In this course, we will explore the diverse and complex interactions between the brain and the immune system from the perspective of current, cutting-edge research papers. In particular, we will focus on the molecular mechanisms of these interactions and their role in brain development and function as well as their potential contributions to specific neurological disorders, including autism. In the process, students will learn to read, critically evaluate, and explain in presentations the content of articles from the primary literature. Prerequisites: MOL 214/215.
Professor/InstructorMark Philip Brynildsen
Introduction to engineering metabolism. The objective of this course is to introduce students to current techniques and challenges within the field of metabolic engineering. Specific topics include introduction to metabolism, transcriptional regulation, signal transduction, flux balance analysis, and metabolic flux analysis. Designed for upper division students in engineering, chemistry, and molecular biology. Two lectures. Prerequisites: MOL 214 or MOL 215, or equivalent.
Viruses: Strategy and Tactics
Professor/InstructorLynn William Enquist
Viruses are unique parasites of living cells and may be the most abundant, highest evolved life forms on the planet. The general strategies encoded by all known viral genomes are discussed using selected viruses as examples. The course covers the molecular biology (the tactics) inherent in these strategies. It also introduces the biology of engagement of viruses with host defenses, what happens when viral infection leads to disease, vaccines and antiviral drugs, and the evolution of infectious agents and emergence of new viruses. Three lectures, one two-hour preceptorial. Prerequisite: MOL 214 or permission of instructor.
Diseases in Children: Causes, Costs, and Choices
Professor/InstructorDaniel A. Notterman
Within a broader context of historical, social, and ethical concerns, a survey of normal childhood development and selected disorders from the perspectives of the physician and the scientist. Emphasis on the complex relationship between genetic and acquired causes of disease, medical practice, social conditions, and cultural values. The course features visits from children with some of the conditions discussed, site visits, and readings from the original medical and scientific literature. Prerequisite: MOL 214. Two 90-minute classes and an evening 90-minute precept.