Genome Hijackers

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This course is under review for 2021. Course registration will open to accepted students once courses are confirmed.

Course Description

The viral world we live in is constantly shifting and is not only around us, but embedded in our very DNA. We ingest billions of viral particles every day and viruses infect every living thing on this planet. They have infiltrated our host genome, both to our benefit and detriment. This course will provide a comprehensive analysis of viral infection from transmission to the host down to the molecular and cell biological features of the virus life cycle. Further, the course will explore the battle that exists between viruses and the immune system.

Viruses impact us not only physically; but socially, culturally, and politically as well. Viruses often attract attention in the media with stories about HPV vaccines, Zika, genetic engineering of flu viruses and flu shots, the autism-vaccine controversy, and the recent Ebola outbreaks.

This course will cover specific mechanisms of viral pathogens that shape major aspects of our lives and discuss the impact of infections within populations. Students will also participate in several hands-on laboratory sessions such as learning techniques including genetic engineering of viruses, identification of virus receptors, and utilizing current clinical methods for identifying unknown viruses.

Upon completion of this class students will have a comprehensive understanding of the virus life cycle and the immunology of viral infection. Students will also have a broader understanding of how viruses affect humans in our every day lives. Further, students will be able to watch or read a media story involving viruses and be able to discern whether it is true or sensationalized.

Prerequisites: This class is appropriate for students that have taken a basic high school-level biology or chemistry class. It is suitable for students simply interested in biology and science, in particular those interested in pursuing a career in public health, science or medicine.

Course Information

  • Course Code: CEBI0961
  • Length: 3 weeks
  • Supplemental Fee: $50

Program Information

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Brown’s Pre-College Program in the liberal arts and sciences, offering over 200 non-credit courses, one- to four-weeks long, taught on Brown’s campus. For students completing grades 9-12 by June 2021.

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