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, Ph.D., is the Principal Investigator of this grant that will support both pre-doctoral and post-doctoral trainees.
Students need to register for a total of 10 Immunology credit hours. While this is the minimum number of credit hours required for students to receive an Immunology transcript designation, there is no restriction on a student registering for any number of course credits.
In addition to the core curriculum, for a student to receive the transcript designation Immunology, they must complete the following course:
Students must also register for credit in one elective from the following list:
Seminars and Journal Club
Students must register for at least one Immunology Seminar and one Immunology Journal Club for a total of 4 credit hours. The courses from which to choose are:
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):