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MICR 450 / BMED 850 - Principles of Molecular Virology

Course Description: 

This course has been designed to develop further the concepts of virology introduced in MICR-221 through guided readings in virology. The course will largely be tutorial based as the students learn important concepts in virology in small groups. Effective reading, writing and presentation skills will be developed using specific textbook chapters and research papers as topic guides. A chapter from the text book will be the object of study each week. It will be imperative that students read this chapter before coming to class in order to be prepared for the discussion. The goal of the course is to help students develop powers of observation and critical thinking using molecular virology as the vehicle for learning. In addition, personal written journals will be maintained by the students to mimic a scientific lab notebook where both observations and the development of thoughts leading to new concepts will be recorded. 

There will be no formal lectures – the instructor will be a facilitator for learning.

Course Objectives: 

The goal of the course is to help students develop powers of observation and critical thinking using molecular virology as the vehicle for learning. In addition, personal written journals will be maintained by the students to mimic a scientific lab notebook where both observations and the development of thoughts leading to new concepts will be recorded.


PREREQUISITE:  BIOL 205/3.0 and (MICR 221/3.0 or MICR 271/3.0 or MICR 229/3.0 with a minimum grade of B-) and (Level 4 and registration in the LISC Major or Specialization Plan) and (a GPA of 2.5).

COREQUISITE:  BCHM 310/9.0 or BCHM 315/3.0.

A variety of assessment criteria have been used in Micr450, designed to encourage students to obtain very good grades if consistent work habits are developed throughout the duration of the course. Continuing feedback to students is a high priority for the instructor. The final evaluation criteria will be established during the first few weeks of the course, but will include some or all of the following:

  • Generating textbook chapter questions and answers: about 10%
  • Tutorial oral presentations including peer review: about 15%
  • Tutorial research paper summary essays: about 20%
  • Personal journals: about 20%
  • Midterm Exam: about 10%
  • Final Exam: about 25%

PRINCIPLES OF MOLECULAR VIROLOGY 6th edition (A. J. Cann) http://store.elsevier.com/Principles-of-Molecular-Virology/Alan-Cann/isbn-9780128019467/

An excellent resource for all aspects of virology can be found in :

Fields Virology (2013) Fields et al.⨠Available on-line through QCAT

Virus Taxonomy (2017): Classification and nomenclature of viruses: the Online Tenth Report of the International Committee on the Taxonomy of Viruses https://talk.ictvonline.org/ictv-reports/ictv_online_report/.

Chapter questions and answers: To learn any subject well is to actively probe its logic with questions. Each week, each student will prepare and submit two (2) questions based on the material in the textbook chapter for that week and the discussions that have occurred in class. Since there are 8 chapters, this means that each student is responsible for 16 questions in total.

Group work including reading/presenting scientific literature from a period of over 50 years

Tutorial presentations and research paper summaries: interpretation and presentation of information in scientific papers including writing summaries of the research papers; peer review (class developed assessment sheet) of oral presentations.

Journals: Each student will keep a personal journal of their experiences both in and outside the classroom. The journal will be a tool for discover and learning: about virology, about the scientific method and about themselves. There is a profound difference between recording the results of an experiment, event or experience and thinking about the implications of those observations. There is a difference between what we observe of an event and how we feel (perceive) the event and its relationship to current knowledge. Writing can help with the development of concepts, based on what we observe. The journals will help students explore the development of their own thoughts leading to new concepts, based on recording observations, questions and revelations. Such a journal provides a bridge between the class and a students' daily experience and decision-­making. The goal is to help students get examples of what it would be like to apply critical thinking to significant life situations.

Midterm Exam: short answer questions, based on questions submitted by students on the first have of the course.

Final Exam: take home exam, based on questions submitted by students and prepared by faculty.

Expectations:

During the courses, students will be encouraged to develop expertise in the following areas:

Read - Think - Write - Talk

  • students will read the material in each chapter before coming to class
  • classroom discussions and writing about textbook chapters substitute for lectures
  • student preparation of questions based on the textbook

Personal Journals - writing to record:

  • encourage the development of the powers of:
    • observation - recording of significant situations or events
    • critical thinking/personal responses to readings/events
    • responses to situations or events:
      • to classes/assignments
      • to text readings
      • to course material and life in general
      • events in the public domain relevant to virology
    • Analysis and implications of your responses to situations and what you have learned from them.

Virology and the scientific method:

  • from what is observed, develop hypothesis/pose a question
  • assemble materials and design experimental protocols to test the hypothesis/answer question
  • carry out experiments and record results
  • analyze results/formulate conclusions
  • discuss the results in the context of current level of knowledge