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BIOL 219
Dangerous Exposures: Environment, Immunity, and Infectious Disease Fall 2020
Division III Writing Skills

Class Details

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 online and board games. In this tutorial course, we will explore the ecology and evolution of several recently emergent diseases such as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, dengue, 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 disease malaria and why such 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#: 2972
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: six 4- to 5-page papers; tutorial presentations, and the student's progress towards intellectual independence and creativity as a presenter and a respondent
Prerequisites: BIOL 101 and 102
Enrollment Preferences: sophomores who have taken BIOL 202, students interested in public health
Distributions: Division III Writing Skills
WS Notes: We work deliberately throughout the semester on writing skills including construction of a written argument and logical flow as well as mechanics. Students write six 4-5-page papers, alternating weekly between papers and written critiques of their partner's writing. Based on substantive feedback from the instructor as well as their partner, students revise and resubmit two of their six papers.
Attributes: PHLH Biomedical Determinants of Health

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