BIOL 219
Dangerous Exposures: Environment, Immunity, and Infectious Disease Spring 2015
Division III Writing Skills
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Global reports of emerging infectious diseases and old diseases with new pathogenic properties incite fears for personal safety as well as national security. The specter of a contagious pandemic has captured the public imagination through the mass news media, movies, and even popular on-line and board games. In this tutorial course, we will explore the ecology and evolution of several recently emergent diseases such as SARS, Ebola hemorrhagic fever, and AIDS. Topics to be considered include transmission dynamics, epidemiological modeling of vaccination strategies, and wildlife reservoirs that contribute to human virus exposure. We will examine progress in preventing the parasitic diseases malaria and sleeping sickness in Africa and why these diseases have proven so refractory. We will also discuss the science behind the recent development of the vaccine against the human papillomavirus, which causes cervical cancer, and the intriguing and highly unusual transmissible cancers in dogs and Tasmanian devils. Finally, we will think about the contributions of inadequate diagnostic capacities world-wide and broader issues of resource shortages in driving the global emergence of drug resistance in tuberculosis and other diseases. One common theme in each of these case studies will be the interplay between the host immune response and the evolution of the pathogen. Although the primary focus of the course is on biology rather than policy, each week’s readings will have implications for public health and/or conservation biology.
The Class: Format: tutorial
Limit: 10
Expected: 10
Class#: 3347
Grading: OPG
Requirements/Evaluation: five 4- to 5-page papers; tutorial presentations, & the student's progress towards intellectual independence and creativity as a presenter and a respondent
Extra Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis
Prerequisites: BIOL 101 and 102
Enrollment Preferences: sophomores, students interested in public health
Distributions: Division III Writing Skills
Attributes: PHLH Biomedical Determinants of Health

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