15:451 Viruses [Cassone]

Prerequisite: 15:282 or permission of Instructor.

Viruses are truly remarkable biological entities that lie somewhere in the grey area between the living and non-living. Outside a host, viruses are inert and about as alive as a rock. However, if they come into contact with a suitable plant, animal or bacterial cell, they spring into action. This course will provide a comparative overview of virus life cycles and strategies viruses use to infect hosts and spread within host populations. Topics include virus structure, classification, replication, evolution, pathogenesis, emerging viruses and current uses of viruses in gene therapy and vaccine applications. Examples of pathogenic viruses will be drawn from a set of representative human diseases including smallpox, influenza, measles, HIV and Ebola. Selected plant, archaeal and bacterial viruses will also be discussed.

3 lecture hours per week, one term.