… and with that final class, the Fall 2012 semester’s edition of Immunochemistry (BIOC 4011) at Mount Allison University has come to an end!

Immunochemistry is a course that explores various facets of immunology at the biochemical, molecular, cellular, and even systemic levels, with an emphasis on the biochemical. This semester, the course was essentially broken into two main “phases.” The first phase, spanning the first two-thirds of the semester, involved the delivery of lecture material by Chris, exploring several “textbook” aspects of immunology, including the following:

  • General background on the immune system
  • An overview of the cells, tissues, and organs involved in the immune response
  • Innate immunity, inflammation, and the antiviral response
  • General aspects of antibodies and the humoural adaptive immune system
  • Antigen capture, processing, and presentation
  • Signal transduction and activation pathways of T cells upon antigen presentation, and of B cells upon opsonized antigen capture
  • Mechanisms of T cell activation
  • Effector mechanisms of activated helper and killer T cells

The second main phase of the course, which spanned the final third of the semester, challenged students to take the “textbook” material they had learned, and apply it to a real-world pathological situation where the immune response has, for one reason or another, failed. Students presented a number of very interesting topics, such as:

  • Rheumatic fever
  • Epstein-Barr virus and Th17 cells in multiple sclerosis
  • Induction of venous thrombotic pathways by β2-glycoprotein I-dependent antiphospholipid antibodies in Hughes’ Syndrome
  • Systemic lupus erythematosis
  • Pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with Streptococcus infections (PANDAS)
  • Blood transfusions and hemolytic reactions involving the ABO blood groups
  • Goodpasture’s Syndrome: an anti-glomerular basement membrane disease
  • Autoimmune nature of primary biliary cirrhosis
  • T cell-mediated graft versus host disease
  • Immunology of type I diabetes
  • Celiac disease: the associated autoimmune response and physical manifestations
  • Chediak-Higasi Syndrome

33 students completed this course; it is the largest number of students that have registered in the course in as long as current faculty members can recall. Congratulations to all students, and best of luck in any future directions your pursue!

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