Curriculum

Our curriculum is designed to provide a solid foundation for thesis work in immunology. This course work will cover important areas related to the study of the immune system including cell biology, developmental biology, and genetics. Students work with their graduate advisor to select a schedule of both required and elective course work. Normally, six lecture courses (18 units) are taken in the first year and the normal course load per quarter for a first year student would be 2 courses and a laboratory rotation. The core Molecular and Cellular Immunology course is offered in the fall for first or second year students. Students may elect to take this course in the fall of their first year or second year. The spring quarter coursework is unique in that it involves the selection of three short mini-courses that provide a more in-depth experience on specific topics that rotate yearly.

Required Courses
Micro 204. Molecular and Cellular Immunology. (Taken in Fall of First or Second Year)
This is the core course for the immunology graduate program. Each of 18 lectures will introduce a different aspect of immunology at a level accessible to students from all programs. Additional weekly small-group sessions will provide students with the opportunity to discuss selected landmark papers relevant to the week's lectures in greater depth. Topics to be covered include mechanisms of immunoglobulin rearrangements, cell biology of antigen presentation to T cells and of lymphocyte trafficking, antigen and cytokine receptor structure and signal transduction mechanisms, regulation of lymphocyte development and lymphocyte activation, mechanisms of cell-mediated killing of infected and neoplastic cells, whole organism immune response to infection, and diseases of the immune system, including allergy, autoimmunity, and AIDS.

BMS 225A Human Disease: Technologies & Biomedical Applications (fall).
This course combines lectures and workshops to introduce core concepts and tools used in biomedical and immunology research. A short series of lectures illustrate how tissues such as those of the immune system function in the context of the whole organism, and how dysfunction leads to disease. The workshops are a central part of the course and provide training in techniques such as Microscopy and Tissue analysis that are essential for study of the immune system. The course load is light and scheduled to allow BMS204 Molecular and Cellular Immunology to be taken concurrently.

BMS 260. Cell Biology. (fall)
This course provides immunology students with a solid foundation in cell biology. The scope of this course is to convey an understanding of the function and the organization of molecules and organelles inside and outside the cell, and how these are used to construct a multicellular tissue. Provides a critical foundation for understanding how immune cells divide, migrate, die, signal in response to antigens and cytokines, form immunological synapses, release cytolytic granules and secrete antibodies.

BMS 225B Tissue & Organ Biology (winter).
By providing cutting-edge training in developmental and stem cell biology, this course provides the immunology student with knowledge essential for understanding how the multiple hematopoietic lineages develop and how immune cells differentiate into effector and memory cells. Lectures and histology classes on pathobiological states of the major organ systems help illuminate how inflammation and tissue invasion by immune cells is a driving force in a myriad of disease from arthritis and lung disease to metabolic syndrome and cancer. There are lectures and small-group discussions of current papers from the literature.

BMS 255 Genetics (winter).
The use of genetic models and their analysis is central to many immunological investigations. With the rapid advances in genome analysis, remarkable new insights are emerging from genetic studies in humans and animal models of immunological disease. The pace and impact of these approaches makes it essential for the modern immunology student to have advanced training in genetics. The scope of this graduate level course is to convey an understanding of genomics and molecular genetics, use of genetic animal model systems and of the analytical principles of simple and complex human genetic traits.

BMS 270 Mini-Courses (spring).
The Immunology Program and BMS participate in a collaborative program with other UCSF graduate programs to offer a curriculum designed around mini-courses formatted as intensive, round-table discussions of current literature in specific topics. Students take three mini-courses lasting two to three weeks each during the spring quarter. BMS students must take two BMS mini-courses, and the third may be chosen from other program offerings depending on availability. BMS mini-courses include translational, single disease or organ systems topics. Topics will change every year but include several immunology-related offerings per year.

Elective Courses
BMS 209. Advanced Topics in Immunology.
Discussion of selected areas in immunology. Topic varies from year to year but includes translational courses involving human disease and the immune system..

Optional Courses
Biochemistry 200A. Structure of Macromolecules.
Fundamental principles governing the behavior of, and modern techniques for study of biological macromolecules.

Biochemistry 201. Biological Regulatory Mechanisms.
The discovery of principles forming the foundation of molecular biology and recent advances in rapidly developing areas of field. Topics covered are RNA transcription and processing, protein translation, DNA replication, control mechanisms and genome structure and organization.

DSCB 257. Developmental & Stem Cell Biology.
Modern aspects of cell biology and development with emphasis on structure-function relationships and multicellular organization.