This page was last updated on 13/11/2015.
With four video-recorded* lectures a week and sometimes one lecture feeling like the price of two, MEDSCI 314 delivers a comprehensive and thorough coverage of the molecular and clinical aspects of immunology. Thankfully, this isn't as bad as it sounds - in 2015 there were no lectures in weeks 6 and 12 to allow you extra time to prepare for the Mid-semester test and final exam respectively, and some lecture slots were in fact for laboratory and lecture tutorials bringing the total number of teaching lectures to 33. In addition, some of the lectures were very short and as the course progresses a lot of the content will overlap with with earlier lectures and even other courses as well (e.g. lectures on hypersensitivity were a common theme in both MEDSCI 301 and MEDSCI 314). Finally, the notes provided by the lecturers (who often also drop hints on particularly "important" slides) via CECIL and through your Course Guide are excellent and will provide immensely useful in your revision process.
This year in 2015 the mid-semester test took place at the end of week 6 just before the mid-semester break and consisted of 50 MCQs covering lectures 1-17 (all the lectures prior to that week) and the first laboratory, while the final exam consisted of a mixture of both MCQs which was laboratory-inclusive and ten short written answers from both halves of the semester of which you will have no choice over - i.e. you have to do all ten.
*Technical issues were experienced this year so please don't assume they are always available!
There were only three laboratories for MEDSCI 314, and thankfully you won't have to write up a full-on physiology style lab report like you did for MEDSCI 205 or 206 either. Instead we were required to hand in an assignment sheet with questions on it relating to the practical laboratory session held two weeks prior. A lot of these questions are very simple and straightforward, with the lead lab demonstrators and tutors being very friendly and helpful in the lab as they often give you the answers to the questions so please do pay close attention at all times. A tutorial session held prior to each laboratory also took place during the usual lecture slot prior to lab commencement so make sure you attend these to get a good idea on what you will be doing as there are multiple stations and tasks for you to complete.
The first laboratory is centered around Immune System Components, the second on Immune System Malfunction and the third and final on Immune Function.
Be wary that although the assignment questions appear simple and straightforward, personally for me I still got lower marks than expected and was marked down on small details such as writing 'phagocytosis' instead of 'IgG-mediated phagocytosis' so please be careful and do become too complacent in your answers.
1. Basic Immunology
The larger of the two part-course, the first 23 lectures covered the basics of immunology and crucial foundation knowledge for any budding immunologist.
The course director Professor Philip Crosier himself kicked off the course with five lectures on the following topics:
Dr. Jonathan Astin then took over for one lecture on the lymphatic system where using a zebrafish model he ties together some concepts taught in lectures 4 and 5 earlier.
Following him was Associate Professor Roger Booth with two lectures on (i) Self & non-self discrimination and (ii) Immune Conversations and cooperative relationships. As you would have come to appreciate in earlier years, he is a very engaging and interactive lecturer who does a great job at involving the class and making his students feel included in what he is teaching.
Up next was an introductory lecture to the innate immune system given by Dr. Fiona Radcliff before a 5 lecture series was given by Professor John Fraser on the following topics:
The remaining lectures for the first half of the semester were on Inflammation, Antigen Processing & Presentation and T cell activation and Effector Subsets delivered by Dr. Chris Hall, Associate Professor Thomas Proft and Dr. Fiona Radcliff respectively. A class tutorial led by the lecturers was held afterwards during the usual allocated Friday lecture slot for students to ask questions and clear up on any confusing concepts before the mid-semester test the following week before the mid-semester break.
Coming back from your mid-semester test and break were two lectures on the Immune System in Health Diagnosis and Immune Networks in Central Tolerance given by Associate Professor Booth, followed by Dr. Ries Langley's lecture on Regulation of Immune Responses in the Periphery: Self-Tolerance and Regulation.
Professor Larry Chamley then lectured on Reproductive Immunology and Immune Privilege (hint: He did test his numbers in the exam so make sure you know them!!)
The final lecture of Part 1 was given by Professor Crosier on Mucosal and Cutaneous Immunity before another class tutorial. Congratulations on getting this far and here comes Part 2!!
2. Clinical Immunology
The clinical immunology module of MEDSCI 314 takes the foundation knowledge you learned in part 1 and applies them to a wide variety of different interesting clinical cases of human diseases for you to see what role the immune system plays in them and how their malfunction or dysregulation can cause the undesirable symptoms we see.
Associate Professor Thomas Proft comes back to deliver two lectures on Immunity to Infection, followed by Professor Crosier to give a Vaccines lecture.
Dr. Chris Hall then gave three lectures on (i) Allergy & Hypersensitivity, (ii) Autoimmunity and (iii) Immunometabolism, followed by Dr. Leanne Berkahn on Tumour Immunology and Therapeutic Immunology. In 2015 there was difficulty in obtaining all of the updated notes for Dr. Berkahn's lecture slides so needless to say please do your best to stay on top of all your lectures to prevent the urge to last-minute catch-up and cram before the exam only to find the necessary resources unavailable.
Finishing off the course are Associate Professor Booth on Psychoneuroimmunology and Dr. Radcliff on the Gut Microbiota. A final review followed where the exam format was once again reinforced and brings the teaching component of MEDSCI 314 to a close with week 12 still to spare!!