MOL 559 Viruses: Strategy and Tactics
Viruses are unique parasites of living cells and may be the most abundant, highest evolved life forms on the planet. The general strategies encoded by all known viral genomes are discussed using selected viruses as examples. The first half of the course covers the molecular biology (the tactics) inherent in these strategies. The second half introduces the biology of engagement of viruses with host defenses, what happens when viral infection leads to disease, vaccines and antiviral drugs, and the evolution of infectious agents and emergence of new viruses. Graduate students will take the midterm written exam, but will write a paper on selected topics in virology in lieu of a final exam. Graduate students also attend a separate preceptorial session lead by a postdoctoral fellow where seminal papers in virology are analyzed and discussed. Three 50 minute lectures and one two hour precept.