Biology W4158

Seminar in Nucleic Acids


Microbiology and the Control of Infectious Diseases is the topic for Spring 2005

Geoffrey Zubay
814 Fairchild

Kathleen Kehoe

TA: Melinda Nugent

Class Information: 


 800 Fairchild


 4:15 - 6:15pm



 call #



Reference Reading List

Reserve texts available in full-text online:

Chemical and biological terrorism: Research and development to improve civilian medical response

Smallpox and its eradication

Bioterrorism Information Resources by Onnalee Henneberry, M.S. CDC Information Center
A valuable bibliography for resources on biological and chemical warfare.)

Many items available on reserve shelves

All potential participants must show up on the first day as that is when we organize the topics and
seminar assignments. Each student is to give a seminar on a particular aspect of this subject. The first
meeting will be on Tuesday, January 21, 2003, at 4:15pm in room 800 Fairchild.

This is a seminar course in which the focus will be on noxious germs or substances that might be used by bioterrorists. Ten of the most credible biological threats are posed by smallpox, anthrax, tularemia, botulinum toxin, brucellosis, Q fever, viral encephalitis, hemorrhagic fever, staphylococcal entereotoxin B and bubonic plague. Each student will present a seminar that will focus on a specific bacterium, virus or toxic substance.

Two to three persons will be assigned to each topic. Persons working on the same topic should work together on their presentations, each person covering a distinct phase of the presentation. Speakers should use slides and have handouts for the audience which cover the body of their talks. Each group should leave time for end of talk discussion and permit some questions to be asked during the presentation.

In general a description of the molecular biology of the organism(s) or virus(es) should be followed by a description of the toxicology and epidemiology of the pathogen. Specific instances when the organism or virus has resulted in widespread infection should be briefly described. The reasons for including this organism or virus in a short list as suitable for bioterrorism should be given. Ways in which this organism or virus has been or might be weaponized to make it an even more potent infectious agent should be described. Finally the types of defenses that have been or might be used to minimize or nullify the effects of the pathogen should be indicated.

Students in this course are expected to attend all of the seminars. Students will be graded on the quality of their seminars and their class participation and a brief final exam.

Our reference librarian, Kathleen Kehoe, will be available to help seminar speakers do literature searches on their topics.

Enrollment in this course will be limited to 38 students. Students will be graded on the quality of their seminars and their class participation.