SSU home

..Biology Department home


Immunology Syllabus

Home | Index | Syllabus | Schedule | Study aids | Computing | Links

Assessment & Grading



Journal presentation



The Great Paper Chase

Course Objectives

There are many different reasons that students enroll in Immunology. Some want units and a good grade. Others need to fill a requirement, either for the degree or as part of prerequisites for some postgraduate programs. Some are curious and willing to try new challenges. Among these groups of students, some are truly interested in immunology. This course attempts to satisfy the diverse needs of students, while focusing on a fascinating subject.

A well designed course should prepare students to meet the expected outcomes of having taken that course. As a minimum at the end of this course, there should be a solid understanding of how the immune system functions and how it responds in a variety of ways. It is expected that the basic knowledge can be applied in many different fields of interest.

The fields of study in molecular and cell biology continue to grow rapidly. The field of immunology changes so rapidly that it is nearly impossible to keep up with all the different areas of progress. It is therefore necessary to learn how to access new information and how to assimilate it into the whole, in order to continue to learn beyond the limits of this course. It is also necessary to become aware of the tools and techniques used in research and in applications. Therefore, while learning the essentials of immunology, you will also begin to learn to use some of these tools. In doing so, you should find that they help you in the learning process and move you closer to becoming a lifelong learner.

Assessment & Grading



Journal presentation




2 midterms (100 pt each)*


1 final(100 pt)*

1 paper chase**




* One midterm or the final may be dropped. [This makes the final "optional".] No make-ups on exams. If you have a problem, see me well in advance.

** See below for description. Do pay attention to the deadline schedule.

Note on final grade calculation: The top score of the class earned by an undergraduate will be essentially valued as a perfect 100%. This score will be averaged with the top scores from the past four years. This average will be divided into the total possible points. This creates a "fudge factor". All other scores will be computed on that basis. This will compensate for possible exam questions which may be too difficult or unclear. Letter grades will be assigned as follows:


89 - 80%
79 - 70%
69 - 60%

Cheating and plagiarism: This will result in dismissal from class and a failing grade.

[top of page]

Course Requirements


Bioinformatics is the descriptive term now used for computer searches and analysis of protein, nucleic acid, and genomic databases, much of which can be done using Web-based resources. Powerful search engines and analysis software are now available which allow us to consider questions which once, not very long ago, were beyond our reach to answer. These exercises are posted on this web site under "Computing". Points will be earned for completing the exercises.

  • 10 pt- Computer exercise 1: Introduction
  • 10 pt- Computer exercise 2: Bioinformatics 1- molecular modeling
  • 20 pt- Computer exercise 3: Bioinformatics 2- sequence databases and analysis

Grading on these is lenient; the key point is to learn something in the process of doing them. You will be able to explore while you gain some familiarity of how to find sequences, to make comparisons of sequences, and to locate original literature related to the sequences. You will be shown where and how to continue learning more about bioinformatics beyond the brief introduction given during this course. You will also gain experience which should help you in completing the Great Paper Chase. You may find that learning immunology just got a lot more interesting!

Journal Presentation:

Each student will select one paper on a topic related to immunology. This paper will be discussed in your discussion section. Check the Journal topics schedule and the description for details. Full points are earned, provided that the presentation is given and that the paper presented was both reasonably current and relevant to the topic.

[top of page]

Discussion Sections:

To facilitate information flow and to establish two-way communication, there will be short forms to return in each section meeting. These will have space for input and questions. The activities planned for discussion sections are integral to the course and are expected to add interest as well as enhance the learning process.

Grading for discussion will be based on participation. It is a fairly easy way to earn points while doing some things which will make learning immunology easier, and maybe even fun. If you need to miss a section meeting, it may be possible to meet at the other section time. Otherwise, do check in to find out what you missed.


Two one hour exams will be primarily short essay format, covering major principles and concepts. Thought and analysis will be stressed. Memorized material will be restricted as much as possible to short questions and diagrams. A representative example of a midterm will be posted in the case outside D234. Use of Study Guide 1, Study Guide 2, and the timely use of the self-quizzes will help in keeping up with the material and reviewing for the exams.

[top of page]


A choice of questions will be offered. The focus of the exam will be on material covered after the last midterm. Although not strictly comprehensive, information covered all semester will be utilized in applications and so forth. See Study Guide 3 for aid in preparation.

The Great Paper Chase:

This is a library search of current literature to answer questions on current topics. Detailed information and the questions will available by 10/5. Due date: 11/11. There is a 10 point/day (including the weekend) penalty for late submissions. Grading is based on the quality and completeness of the answers; following directions regarding format, length, and reference citations; and on basic spelling and grammar. Do plan ahead on this. This is not something that can be put off until the weekend before it is due. Just ask anyone who has done one!

[top of page]

Home | Index | Syllabus | Schedule | Study aids | Computing | Links

 Up dated 8/25/04 by