Interdisciplinary Explorations in Virology

Syllabus, Fall 2011

Course Description 

In this course, we will use a case-study approach to investigate the biology of human pathogenic viruses, focusing in particular on factors that impact the outbreak and spread of human viral diseases. CC- Interdisciplinary

Student Learning Goals

As a result of taking this course, students will be able to:

1) Describe the basic structures and replication strategies of the major classes of human viral pathogens;

2) Explore and analyze the political, social, economic and biological factors that impact the outbreak and spread of viral diseases;

3) Demonstrate familiarity with the specialized vocabularies and fundamental concepts of the various disciplines involved in the epidimiological analysis of viral disease outbreaks;

4) Show an appreciation of how different academic disciplines can supplement and reinforce one another in the study of viral disease outbreaks and their causes;

5) Articulate an understanding of the complexities and ambiguities inherent in explaining epidemiological issues from with in the frameworks of a variety of disciplines, including biology, sociology, political science and economics.

6) Deliberately use the disciplines under study for advanced analysis of viral disease outbreaks in a way that is not normally available to each discipline alone.

Important Course Information

Professor:  Dr. Tammy Tobin
Course questions?  Email me!Course Questions?  Email me!

        Phone Number:  372-4067
        Office Hours:  Monday 2-3, Tuesday 1-2, Friday 1-3, Thursdays by appointment only.
        Office Location:  234F New Science Building

Required Text

Virology: Principles and Applications by Carter and Saunders (Wiley, ISBN 978-0-470-02387-7)

Grade Standards 

Your final grade will be based on three exams (30%), Peer-Evaluated Teamwork (10%), in-class assignments and participation (30%), and a written report of your semester "Outbreak" project (30%).  Grades will be based on the table below.  There is no curve.

Percent Grade Letter Grade
93 A
90 A-
87 B+
84 B
80 B-
77 C+
74 C
70 C-
67 D+
64 D
60 D-
<60 F



If you are not in class, you will receive a zero for that day's work, and for that day's participation.  If you think you have a really good reason for missing class, you must let me know about it in advance, and I will decide if a make-up assignment is warranted.

Late Work

Since the reason I assigne work for class is to help you learn, I will always accept late work, and it will always receive more points than work that is simply not turned in (as long as you get something right, that is). Late (unexcused) work will be assessed a 10% per day late penalty, and that penalty starts the minute that I start class - so please do NOT come to class late because you are printing out that day's assignment. It won't change your grade a bit.

Schedule of Events for Fall 2011

Assignment (Due at or before Beginning of Class)


Viruses and Their Importance

Introduction to Epidemiology


Virology Lecture 1 Notes


1) Reply to Class Introductory Email

2) Read Carter, Chapter 1

3) Read Where do emerging pathogens come from?


Emerging Infectious Diseases: Who, What, Where, When and Why?

Class Worksheet

Everyone Must Read:

1) Emerging infectious diseases; controversies, causes and control

2) Carter, Chapter 21

Then Read One of the Following Papers, As Assigned:

A) Globally Mobile Populations and the Spread of Emerging Pathogens

B) Epidemics after Natural Disasters

C) Preventing and Controlling Emerging and Reemerging Transmissible Diseases in the Homeless

D) Public Health Threat of New, Reemerging, and Neglected Zoonoses in the Industrialized World

E) Urbanisation and infectious diseases in a globalised world


Virus Structure and Replication - An Overview

Virology Lecture 2 Notes


1) Read Carter, Chapters 3-4, 10 (Animal Viruses, Only)


Virus Vaccines and Antiviral Agents

Virus Lecture 3 Notes

1) Read Carter, Chapters 24-25


Mini Case Study #1: dsDNA Viruses

The Outbreak Continues

1) Read Carter, Chapter 11

This, and all subsequent sessions will be supplemented by material from chapters 4-9, as appropriate.

Exam One
Exam One Review Questions

Mini Case Study #2: ssDNA Viruses

Lecture 5 Handout

The Outbreak Continues

1) Read Carter, Chapter 12
Midterm Break

No New Assignments!


Mini Case Study #3: dsRNA Viruses

Lecture 6 Handout

The Outbreak Continues

1) Read Carter, Chapter 13


Mini Case Study #4: (+) strand RNA viruses


The Outbreak Continues

1) Read Carter, Chapter 14

Exam Two

Exam Two Review Questions


Mini Case Study #5: (-) strand RNA viruses

The Outbreak Continues

1) Read Carter, Chapter 15

Mini Case Study #6: Outbreak Cozumel!

The Outbreak Continues

CDC Norovirus Home

OSHA Norovirus Fact Sheet

All The Virology On the World Wide Web: Calciviridae


Outbreak Presentations

The Outbreak Concludes


Class Evaluation, Class Summary


Final Exam Period

Exam Three

Tuesday, December 13. 3-5 pm

Exam Three Review Questions, Final Outbreak Paper Due