Skip to main content
Unit outline_

VIRO3002: Medical and Applied Virology

Semester 2, 2020 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

This unit of study explores diseases in human caused by viruses, with focus on the way viruses infect individual patients and spread in the community, and how virus infections are diagnosed, treated and/or prevented. Host/Virus interactions will also be described with a focus on the viral mechanisms that have evolved to combat and/or evade host defence systems. These features will be used to explain the symptoms, spread and control of the most medically important viruses that cause serious disease in humans. The unit will be taught by the Discipline of Infectious Diseases and Immunology within the Sydney Medical School with the involvement of associated clinical and research experts who will contribute lectures on their own special interests and with contributions from the Discipline of Microbiology. In the practical classes students will have the opportunity to develop their skills in performing methods currently used in diagnostic and research laboratories such as molecular analysis of viral genomes, immunofluorescent staining of viral antigens, cell culture and the culture of viruses.

Unit details and rules

Academic unit
Credit points 6
6cp from (BMED2404 or IMMU2101 or MEDS2004 or MIMI2X02 or MICR2X22)
Assumed knowledge

Fundamental concepts of microorganisms and biomolecules

Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Barry Slobedman,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Final exam (Open book) Type C final exam Exam on the Lecture Course
Written exam on the lecture course
40% Formal exam period 2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2
Presentation Oral presentation
Oral presentation
15% Multiple weeks 12 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO4 LO5
Assignment Written assignment
Written assessment
15% Week 06 1200 words
Outcomes assessed: LO4 LO6
In-semester test (Open book) Type C in-semester exam Theory of Practical Exam
Written exam on the practical course
30% Week 12
Due date: 17 Nov 2020 at 15:00

Closing date: 17 Nov 2020
50 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO3
Type C final exam = Type C final exam ?
Type C in-semester exam = Type C in-semester exam ?

Assessment summary

  • Lecture exam - theory: This exam will assess the lecture course material. 
  • Practical exam - theory: This exam will cover demonstrated practical material, the theory behind practical classes, and implementation of processes used in practical sessions.
  • Written assignment: A review article that students write on their chosen area of interest under 1 of 2 broad topics.
  • Oral presentation: Presentations will take the form of a presentation at an international conference. Students will present findings from a scientific publication provided to them. 

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 1. Introduction to VIRO3002/3902; 2. Viruses as pathogens Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 02 1. Receptors; 2. Transport Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 03 1. Immune responses to viral infection; 2. Emergence of Coronaviruses Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 04 1. Virus specific immunotherapy; 2. Viral infections of the central nervous system Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO2
Introduction to the practical course Practical (4 hr) LO3
Week 05 1. Diagnosis of viral infections; 2. Dengue virus Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2
Cell Techniques 1 Practical (4 hr) LO3
Week 06 1. Alpha herpesviruses; 2. Beta and gamma herpesviruses Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2
Cell Techniques 2 Practical (4 hr) LO3
Week 07 1. Viruses and cancer; 2. HIV/AIDS: epidemiology and evolution Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2
Student presentations Presentation (4 hr) LO4 LO5
Week 08 1. Gastroviruses; 2. Influenza virus Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2
Student presentations Presentation (4 hr) LO4 LO5
Week 09 1. Epidemiology and outbreak control; 2. Vector-borne viral diseases Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2
Molecular virology 1 Practical (4 hr) LO3
Week 10 1. Antivirals; 2. Vaccines against viruses Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2
Molecular virology 2 Practical (4 hr) LO3
Week 11 1. Oncolytic viruses; 2. Hepatitis viruses Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2
Molecular virology and exams review session Tutorial (4 hr) LO1 LO3
Week 12 1. Gene therapy; 2. Medical virology in the 21st Century Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2

Attendance and class requirements

Attendance: For this unit of study, satisfactory attendance is defined as ≥ 80% which means that if you miss more than 2 practical class sessions (including oral presentation sessions), without approved special consideration for illness or misadventure, or pre-approved special arrangement, you will not be allowed to pass this unit of study. Students who arrive more than 30 min late to a practical class will be recorded as being absent. An attendance roll will be taken.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

All readings for this unit can be accessed through the Library eReserve, available on Canvas.

  • Fields Virology. 6th Edition. Edited by David M Knipe, Peter M Howley et al. Published in 2013.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. demonstrate a thorough understanding of the scientific foundations and clinical applications of medical and applied virology
  • LO2. define prevention strategies to the control of viral infections
  • LO3. demonstrate knowledge of, and training in, laboratory techniques used to diagnose infections caused by viruses
  • LO4. develop effective skills in problem-solving and self-directed learning
  • LO5. demonstrate advanced oral communication skills as a presenter in a virology conference style setting
  • LO6. demonstrate the capacity to critically evaluate the scientific literature on a virology topic and present this in a written form as a scientific review article.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

Minor changes to the practical content as well as changes to some of the lectures.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.