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Unit of study_

VIRO3901: Virology (Advanced)

This unit is available to students who have performed well in Intermediate Microbiology and is based on VIRO3001 with additional lectures related to the research interests in the Discipline. Consequently, the unit of study content may change from year to year. Viruses are some of the simplest biological machinery known yet they are also the etiological agents for some of the most important human diseases. New technologies that have revolutionised the discovery of viruses are also revealing a hitherto unappreciated abundance and diversity in the ecosphere, and a wider role in human health and disease. Developing new gene technologies have enabled the use of viruses as therapeutic agents, in novel vaccine approaches, gene delivery and in the treatment of cancer. This unit of study is designed to introduce students who have a basic understanding of molecular biology to the rapidly evolving field of virology. Viral infection in plant and animal cells and bacteria is covered by an examination of virus structure, genomes, gene expression and replication. Building upon these foundations, this unit progresses to examine host-virus interactions, pathogenesis, cell injury, the immune response and the prevention and control of infection and outbreaks. The structure and replication of sub-viral agents: viroids and prions, and their role in disease are also covered. The practical component provides hands-on experience in current diagnostic and research techniques such as molecular biology, cell culture, serological techniques, immunofluoroescence and immunoblot analyses and is designed to enhance the students' practical skills and complement the lecture series. In these practical sessions experience will be gained handling live, potentially pathogenic microbes. Advanced lectures cover cutting-edge research in the field of virology in small group discussions and presentations that provide a forum for students to develop their communication and critical thinking skills. The unit will be taught by the Discipline of Microbiology within the School of Life and Environmental Sciences with the involvement of the Discipline of Infectious Diseases and Immunology within the Sydney Medical School.

Code VIRO3901
Academic unit Life and Environmental Sciences Academic Operations
Credit points 6
Prerequisites:
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A mark of 70 or above in (MIMI2X02 or MEDS2004 or MICR2X22 or BMED2404)
Corequisites:
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None
Prohibitions:
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VIRO3001
Assumed knowledge:
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Fundamental concepts of microorganisms, biomolecules and ecosystems

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

  • LO1. Define the key characteristics of viruses that distinguish them from other agents of disease such as bacteria, sub-viral particles and prions. Describe the role of viruses as agents of disease, their function in the ecosphere, abundance and diversity.
  • LO2. Explain how different classes of viruses replicate, and the impact of genome type on replication and virus structure.
  • LO3. Explain how the immune system is able to combat viral infections and confer immunity, and the various ways viruses have evolved to circumvent this control mechanism. Explain how viral diseases emerge and the threat posed to public health. Explain how anti-viral drugs and vaccination act to limit virus replication.
  • LO4. Perform basic cell culture, fluorescence microscopy, diagnostic and molecular techniques used in a modern virology laboratory, and explain the scientific principles behind these techniques. Students are provided with a creative space to apply the principles of experimental design and relate their results to the existing literature.
  • LO5. Critically evaluate experimental approaches used in virology to formulate and test hypotheses. Students are able to appraise new advances within the context of pre-existing knowledge.

Unit outlines

Unit outlines will be available 1 week before the first day of teaching for the relevant session.