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The Immune System: Your Inner Warrior

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Course DatesWeeksMeeting TimesStatusInstructor(s)CRN
June 22, 2015 - July 10, 20153M-F 8:30A-11:20AOpenRichard Bungiro10701

Course Description

Have you ever wondered why your doctor poked you with so many needles when you were a kid? Why you got the flu this year but your best friend didn't - but if she eats peanuts she could die within minutes? What your white blood cells are and what makes them different from the "red stuff" that you can see? Why HIV is so deadly and what it means when someone "rejects" a lifesaving organ transplant - and did you know that sometimes a transplant can actually reject the patient? It all comes down to the immune system, a part of your body with superhero-like powers that are weird, wonderful - and real!

This course will first introduce you to the main cast of immune cells and molecules - what do they do, where do they do it and what is their backstory? We'll then talk about how these cells and molecules communicate with each other and coordinate lethal attacks on disease-causing microbes while avoiding harm to your body. We'll discuss the role immunology plays in science, medicine, society, and media, how vaccines work, and what can happen if the immune system goes rogue and attacks YOU.

By the end of the course, students will understand the major components of the human immune system and the general timeline of an immune response, how immune cells and molecules react to infections, how the science of immunology has developed over time and the ways that modern medicine uses that knowledge to manipulate the immune response to save lives and improve health.

Prerequisite: One year of general high school biology.