Immunology & Pathogenesis

Humans inhabit an environment teeming with microbes and their toxins. The omnipresent threat of infection and the emergence of new infectious diseases has catapulted immunology to the forefront of modern biomedical science. Immunology is the study of the cellular and biochemical mechanisms which protect us from these threats. Infectious agents such as human immunodeficiency virus which causes AIDS and immune-based diseases such as asthma have increased the public awareness about the importance of immunology in examining the causes and treatments of these diseases. Immunology is unique amongst the natural sciences in that it covers and integrates aspects of modern biological science including cell and developmental biology, biochemistry, genetics, and molecular biology.

Using approaches from many disciplines and techniques as diverse as recombinant DNA, flow cytometry, physical chemistry, mouse transgenesis, and targeted mutation in mice, immunologists have made major advances and striking discoveries leading to an ever-growing understanding of the immune system. We continue to explore questions such as how the immune system distinguishes self from non-self, how antibodies, T cells and natural killer cells specifically recognize and distinguish millions of different foreign invaders, why some individuals are more susceptible to the development of autoimmune diseases, and how the immune system rejects transplanted organs but often fails to reject tumors. In addition, immunologists study questions of broader biological significance including how gene expression is regulated during animal development, the biochemistry and regulation of gene rearrangement, the mechanism and function of immune surveillance, and the control of programmed cell death.

These recent advances in basic knowledge have in turn led to potential treatments for autoimmune diseases and cancers, new approaches to the design of effective vaccines, strategies to combat AIDS, and treatments to prevent tissue transplant rejection. Students with an emphasis in Immunology will be exposed not only to the unique aspects of the immune system but also to a broad array of disciplines across the full spectrum of modern biomedical sciences.

This major program has two tracks. Track 1, Immunology, comprises 6 upper-division courses, as does Track 2, Infectious Diseases.

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Track 1-Immunology & Pathogenesis

(shows as 968: MO&CEL BIO P1 I, EM 3 on some official University documents)

6 upper-division courses

  • MCB C100A Biophysical Chemistry (F, Sp; 4 units)
  • MCB 110 Macromolecular Synthesis and Cellular Function (F, Sp; 4 units)
  • Choose one of the following two courses:
    • MCB 104* Genetics, Genomics, & Cell Biology (F, Sp; 4 units)
    • MCB 140 General Genetics (F, Sp; 4 units)
  • MCB 150 Molecular Immunology (F, Sp; 4 units)
  • MCB 150L Molecular Immunology Laboratory (F, Sp; 4 units)
  • Immunology Approved Elective List C

*Note that students who choose to take MCB 104, will receive 3 units of credit because a portion of the course overlaps MCB 110.

Track 2-Infectious Diseases

(shows as 968: MO&CEL BIO P1 I, EM 3 on some official University documents)

6 upper-division courses


  Approved Electives List C for Immunology & Pathogenesis (Track 1 only):

Molecular & Cell Biology

  • 100B Biochemistry: Pathways, Mechanisms, and Regulation (Sp,; 4 units)
  • C103 Bacterial Pathogenesis (Sp; 3 units) - not offered Sp15
  • C112 General Microbiology (F, Su;  4 units)
  • C114 Intro to Comparative Virology (Sp; 4 units)
  • 130A Cell & Systems Biology (Sp; 4 units)
  • 132 Biology of Human Cancer (F; 4 units)
  • C134 Chromosome Biology/Cytogenetics (S; 3 units)
  • 135A Molecular Endocrinology (F; 3 units)
  • 141 Developmental Biology (Sp; 4 units)
  • 149 The Human Genome (Sp; 3 units)
  • 250 Advanced Immunology (Sp; 4 units)

Bioengineering

  • 131 Introduction to Computational Molecular and Cell Biology (Fa; 4 units)

Approved Electives List for Immunology, Track 2

Elective List A

Molecular & Cell Biology

  • C103 Bacterial Pathogenesis (Sp, 3 units) - not offered Sp15
  • C112 General Microbiology (F, Su; 4 units)
  • C114 Intro to Comparative Virology (Sp, 4 units)

Elective List B

Molecular & Cell Biology

  • 130A Cell & Systems Biology (Sp; 4 units)
  • 132 Biology of Cancer (F; 4 units)
  • C134 Chromosome Biology/Cytogenetics (Sp; 3 units)
  • 135A Molecular Endocrinology (F; 3 units)
  • 136 Physiology (F; 4 units)
  • 141 Developmental Biology (Sp; 4 units)
  • 143 Evolution of Genomes, Cells & Development (F; 3 units)
  • 149 The Human Genome (Sp; 3 units)
  • C160 Intro to Neurobiology (F, Sp; 4 units)
  • 250 Advanced Immunology (Sp; 4 units)

***Approved Courses but Not Regularly offered

  • MCB C145 Genomics
  • MCB C146 Topics in Computational Biology & Genomics