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Molecular Biology of Pandemic Influenza

East Baltimore
2nd term
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
3 credits
Academic Year:
2019 - 2020
Class Times:
  • Tu Th,  2:00 - 2:50pm
Auditors Allowed:
Yes, with instructor consent
Grading Restriction:
Letter Grade or Pass/Fail
Course Instructor :
Wright, William

Explores how molecular biology has been used to define the biological basis of a public health catastrophe, the 1918 Spanish Influenza Pandemic. Students examine the biological basis of the virulence of more recent influenza viruses. Topics include: use of molecular techniques to resurrect the extinct 1918 pandemic virus, the use of molecular techniques to identify why specific mutations in the genome made the 1918 virus so virulent, the use of sequence analysis to identify the origin of new strains of influenza virus, and the analysis of the immune response of an infected host to the 1918 virus. Students also examine the molecular biology of the more recent H1N1 pandemic and the H5N1 bird flu viruses. Students discuss ethical and policy issues that must be considered in managing the response to a pandemic.

Learning Objectives:

Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

  1. Describe modern molecular biology techniques
  2. Explain how these techniques can be applied to a major public health problem
  3. Interpret data generated by these techniques
  4. Describe the molecular basis for the pathogenesis of specific strains of influenza
  5. Read and present original papers in this area
Methods of Assessment:

Evaluations of oral presentations by students and a midterm and final examination.

Enrollment Restriction:

This course is open to graduate students only.

Instructor Consent:

Consent required for some students

Consent Note:

Consent required for any student who is not enrolled as an MHS, MPH, ScM or PhD student in the Bloomberg School of Public Health.

For consent, contact: