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BIOL_497A_Spring_2011 - BIOL 497A The Evolution of...

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BIOL 497A The Evolution of Infectious Diseases Spring 2011 Tuesdays 1 pm - 2:15 pm: 106 Boucke Thursdays 1 pm - 2:15 pm: 106 Boucke BIOL 497A is a three credit course. Instructors: Dr. Eddie Holmes Department of Biology, The Pennsylvania State University 609 Mueller Laboratory E-mail: [email protected] Tel: 814 863 4689 Course overview : Emerging and reemerging diseases, such as HIV and West Nile, are now a major threat to human health, while older ailments, such as malaria and tuberculosis, continue to kill millions of people each year. This course will explore how and why microbial pathogens evolve in the way they do and what this means for human disease. Although a variety of diseases will be considered, the emphasis will be on those that cause serious mortality and morbidity in humans today. For each of the major class of pathogen – viruses, bacteria and pathogenic eukaryotes – we will learn now genetic variation is generated, the major mechanisms of evolutionary change, how the spread of these pathogens can be reconstructed using phylogenetic and other evolutionary techniques, and how they are able to evade host immune responses and different treatment strategies. Special emphasis will be given to new, emerging diseases, such as HIV and swine-origin influenza virus, and the evolutionary forces that allow their causative pathogens to jump into new host species (and alternatively why some pathogens are unable to jump into new hosts). The course will therefore examine pathogen evolution at scales from the infection of individual patients to the global human population. To illustrate the general points made we will also consider a number of case studies of pathogens that are of particular importance for human health, including HIV/AIDS, influenza, rabies, hepatitis C, dengue, tuberculosis, meningitis, E. coli , antibiotic resistant bacteria and malaria. Course goals: Upon completion of this course, students will understand the patterns and processes of evolution in bacterial, viral and eukaryotic pathogens. They will understand the different ways in which genetic variation
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