Seminar in Immunology

Course Overview and Syllabus

Dr. Joanne Pratt, AC407

Office hours: by appointment
Phone: X2571
Classroom: AC417
Meeting times: Monday, Thursday 9-10:40

Final grades will be based on the following:

PIPI (see below for description)                                15%
Homework                                                                     15%
Report I, written                                                           20%
Report II, oral presentation                                       20%
Report II, written                                                         30%

Specific Learning Objectives

Students will acquire the knowledge and demonstrate understanding of the principle concepts of immunology, using verbal and written communication. The majority of the course will be concerned with learning the fundamental aspects of an immune response with appreciation for the interrelationship of immune components and their ability to function as an interactive system. Students will also develop skills in reading and discussing scientific journal articles and conducting and presenting literature research.

Measurable Outcomes: Students will be able to

  1. Demonstrate and communicate knowledge and understanding of major principles of immunology
  2. Demonstrate an ability to read and analyze primary literature papers, review articles and media articles relevant to immunology.
  3. Conduct and communicate, through written and oral means, in-depth independent research on a topic relevant to immunology

Course Resources

Required book:
Kuby Immunology, 7th edition, Owen, Punt, Stranford, W.H. Freeman publishers
Optional Books:
 How the Immune System Works 3rd edition Lauren Sompayrac
Case Studies in Immunology : A Clinical Companion 5th edition Rosen & Geha

Journal articles:

Journal articles will be posted and discussed throughout the semester. In addition, you will use primary journal articles for research on your paper topic. Many articles are now available free online through pubmed (, some are available through the Olin College or Wellesley College libraries, and others will need to be ordered through inter library loan.

participation, initiative, professionalism and improvement

Students are expected to attend each class session. All four components of PIPI will factor into the final PIPI score. For example, a student who participates in class discussions, yet demonstrates unprofessional behavior or produces unprofessional assignments (late, sloppy, full of typos, didn’t follow instructions) will receive a poor PIPI grade.

Homework Assignments

Class discussions will provide a means to demonstrate understanding of concepts and to identify areas that require more explanation. Students will have homework assignments that represent milestones of their independent research projects and critical analyses of peers’ work. In addition, students will frequently present to the class on textbook material or journal article analyses. You will prepare one-page handouts of material covered in textbook chapters to be distributed when presenting in class.

Homework Assignments: student-led discussions

Each student will be responsible for leading discussions of primary literature articles and textbook material. A sophisticated understanding of the article is expected; students may need to conduct background research to bring additional issues relevant to the topic to the classroom. All class members are expected to read the article(s) and to come to class prepared to discuss them.

Independent research projects

Each student will conduct an independent research project throughout the semester. Topics will be student-selected (with instructor input) and represent an issue that is at the forefront of immunological research. Journal articles, media sources, textbooks, internet sources and scientists/physicians will be resources for this research project. Students will submit a written report in October. Feedback from classmates and instructors that will include suggestions for additional areas of investigation will be incorporated into a revised report, which will be presented at the end of November or early December. Final written reports are due at the end of the semester.

Academic Integrity and Expectations

This is a discussion-based class. Students are expected to be fully engaged during class discussions. Portable computers may only be used in class to take notes or to engage in assignments that are integral to the class session. Email, messaging in class, surfing the internet, etc. are expressly not permitted as a classroom activity.

All students are expected to behave with high levels of academic integrity. This includes the following:

  • Not presenting the work of others as one’s own. This includes presenting the work of others with no or minimal changes (plagiarism)*.
  • Providing appropriate citations for all information presented. This includes print-based, web-based and personal communications. Citations are required for both text and figures.
  • Sharing credit with collaborators (and refraining from working with others if you have been requested to work independently).
  • Preserving integrity of laboratory data, including using appropriate data collection and recording methods, and not falsifying or fabricating results.
  • Adhering to the Olin Honor Code.
*This section on academic integrity was borrowed from Debbie Chachra’s syllabus.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s