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Rice University

Fundamentals of Immunology

Rice University via Coursera Specialization

Overview

This specialization is designed to equip students with the basic concepts and vocabulary of immunology. The goal is to provide students from different backgrounds with a fundamental understanding of immunology and the ability to appreciate and analyze new developments in immunological therapies designed for the treatment of disease.

Syllabus

Course 1: Fundamentals of Immunology: Innate Immunity and B-Cell Function
- Course 1 of a three course specialization called Fundamentals of Immunology. Each course in the specialization presents material that builds on the previous course's material. This is the first leg of a three-part journey through the defenses your body uses to keep you healthy. In this part we hope to give you the vocabulary and concepts you need to interact with the medical community and to provide them in a context that makes them memorable. Fundamentals of Immunology introduces students to the basic functions of the adaptive and innate immune systems. The early lectures survey cells, tissues and organs using metaphors, cartoons and models to improve understanding and retention. After describing the form, function, origin and varieties of antibodies, subsequent lectures provide details on the mechanism of the generation of variation. The course provides animations of gene rearrangement and class switching and descriptions of affinity maturation correlated with detailed physical models of antibody structure. The final lecture reviews these concepts in anatomical context. Testing employs multiple choice questions testing facts, concepts, and application of principles. Questions may refer to diagrams, drawing and photographs used in lecture and reproduced in the outline. What You’ll Learn: The difference between adaptive and innate immune systems, the characteristics of various pathogens that they protect you from and the overall strategies employed in this protection. The detailed structure of antibodies and related immunoglobulin receptors, the characteristics and function of the different antibody classes and the mechanism for producing both the recognition regions and stem regions. Finally, how these structures are coded for in the DNA and expressed in the B cells.

Course 2: Fundamentals of Immunology: T Cells and Signaling
- Course 2 of a three course specialization called Fundamentals of Immunology. Each course in the specialization presents material that builds on the previous course's material. This is the second half of the journey through the defenses your body uses to keep you healthy. In the first part we learned about innate immunity and B cell function. The second part covers T cell function and coordination of the immune response. Fundamentals of Immunology: T cells and Signaling builds on the first course to describe the functions of Complement, MHC presentation to T cells, T cell development and signaling. The early lectures survey cells, tissues and organs using metaphors, cartoons and models to improve understanding and retention. This course includes the structure of both MHC proteins and T cell receptors and the sources of variation. The course provides animations of gene rearrangement, developmental processes and signal cascades. Testing employs multiple choice questions testing facts, concepts, and application of principles. Questions may refer to diagrams, drawing and photographs used in lecture and reproduced in the outline. What You’ll Learn: How complement uses adaptive and innate triggers to target pathogens. The detailed structure and coding of MHC proteins and both alpha-beta and gamma delta receptors and how these proteins interact to initiate an adaptive immune response. The basics of signaling, and the varieties of external receipt and internal activation pathways. We bine the process of putting together how signals and crosstalk control the activity of the immune system.

Course 3: Fundamentals of Immunology: Death by Friendly Fire
- Course 3 of a three course specialization called Fundamentals of Immunology. Each course in the specialization presents material that builds on the previous course's material. This is the third leg of the journey through the defenses your body uses to keep you healthy. In the first course we learned about innate immunity and B cell function. In the second course we studied T cell function and coordination of the immune response. Fundamentals of Immunology: Death by Friendly Fire introduces students to the basic functions of the adaptive and innate immune systems. The early lectures survey cells, tissues and organs using metaphors, cartoons and models to improve understanding and retention. After describing the form, function, origin and varieties of antibodies, subsequent lectures provide details on the mechanism of the generation of variation. The course provides animations of gene rearrangement and class switching and descriptions of affinity maturation correlated with detailed physical models of antibody structure. The final lecture reviews these concepts in anatomical context. Testing employs multiple choice questions testing facts, concepts, and application of principles. Questions may refer to diagrams, drawing and photographs used in lecture and reproduced in the outline. What You’ll Learn: A survey of immune cells and how they attack pathogens, with emphasis on the mechanism of inducing apoptosis and details of Antibody Directed Cell-mediated Cytotoxicity. The inflammatory response and mechanisms of generating tolerance, presented in sequence to emphasize the decision making involved in controlling attacks. A survey of autoimmune disease, their characteristics, cause and treatment. Survey of hypersensitivity reactions, including allergy, anaphylaxis, anemias, granulomas, and a variety of skin responses. This is accompanied by identification, prevention and treatment. The final discussion of preventing transplant rejection is preceded by a detailed unit on antibody technology and the methods of testing for incompatibility.

Courses

Taught by

Alma Moon Novotny, Ph.D.

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