Biology 337

Biology 337: Immunology

Prerequisite: A grade of “C” or better in BIOL 131, BIOL 132, BIOL 231, and BIOL 232

Credit Hours: (4)

Explores basic principles, such as cells and molecules of the immune system, humoral and cellular immunity, serology, diseases caused by immune responses and current applications of immunologic procedures.


Detailed Description of Content of the Course

The topics covered in this course are those common to most of the textbooks available for undergraduate immunology courses. Students are first introduced to the concepts of immunology with a discussion of the major scientific discoveries that have contributed to the discipline. The structure of antigens, antibodies, and complement and their interactions are next considered. A discussion of the generation of antibody diversity is also included. Several lectures are devoted to a comparison of clinical diagnostic assays that employ antigen-antibody reactions. A lengthy examination of the immune response includes topics such as:

  • the development of lymphoid organs and cells
  • the identification and typing of lymphoid cells
  • the interaction of lymphoid cells in cellular and humoral immune responses
  • theories explaining control of the immune response. The role of the immune response in disease prevention is also described.

Once a basic understanding of the immune response is established, some of the consequences of the immune response are examined. Students are introduced to hypersensitivity disorders, mechanisms for rejection of transplanted tissues, immunodeficiency, and the development of autoimmunity. The laboratory exercises allow students to observe their own immune cells and to demonstrate immunological reactions using their own serum samples. Many of the major immunological assays used in clinical laboratories are performed.


Detailed Description of Conduct of the Course

The classroom portion of this course is conducted primarily in a lecture format. However, students are encouraged to discuss implications of immunological concepts in class and are questioned informally in class about lecture topics. Students are required to read at least one original publication to demonstrate how scientific knowledge is gained.

The laboratory provides an opportunity to develop certain manual skills necessary for hospital laboratory work or for a laboratory research career. Students are expected to learn to follow lab procedures, to read experimental results, and to draw conclusions from collected data. Principles of lab safety are stressed. A written laboratory report is required to emphasize the communication of scientific knowledge. Four students work together at each laboratory bench and cooperative efforts are encouraged. However, each student is required to perform every procedure and all assignments are to be individual efforts.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

1. Students will learn the basic principles and concepts of immunology.
2. Students will develop an appreciation of how the immune system protects individuals from disease and also can lead to disease processes.
3. Students will develop laboratory skills for careers in clinical or research laboratories.
4. Students will gain experience in using certain pieces of laboratory equipment commonly used in clinical and research laboratories.


Assessment Measures

The student's success in this course is assessed primarily by performance on lecture exams that employ a variety of formats, including written essay questions. Four such exams are given during the semester. At least one laboratory report is assigned and is used to demonstrate that the student has an understanding of laboratory methods and equipment. Laboratory exams require the student to write descriptions of laboratory procedures and to explain how those procedures might be adapted for other uses. Student's competence in laboratory techniques and in using certain pieces of equipment is assessed by the instructor's observation.


Other Course Information



Review and Approval


October, 2007

Revised    2/6/09    Gary Coté