Back to Main
Biology 455/555 : Virology, Fall, 2005

Instructor: Dr. Paul Wanda
Office: SL 3318
Office phone - 650-2336; Biology Office 650-3927

URL (Web Page):
Office Hours : Any changes will be posted in the 'Weekly Objectives' link (click on) . Usual Office Hours will be : T : 11:00-noon; W & F : 3-4pm

or by appointment

Text: The Biology of Viruses, by Bruce Voyles; Reader-'Ahead of the Curve' .

Course/Learning Objectives:

To build a personal technique 'toolkit' involving applications of biotechnology, instrumentation, and research methods in virology.

To gain an understanding of the molecular biology of the Central Dogma as modified by viruses .


Course Description:

Graduate Students (Biol. 555): Are (1) Group Team Leaders for special assignments. (2) Mentors for their assigned Undergraduate (Biol. 455) students. (3) Responsible for EXTRA WORK and DIFFICULTY LEVEL by an extra assignment (Paper anlysis) worth of 50 points.

There is more biological diversity within viruses than in all the rest of the bacterial, plant, and animal kingdoms put together. This is the result of the success of viruses in parasitizing all known groups of living organisms, and understanding this diversity is the key to comprehending the interactions of viruses with their hosts. This course deals with 'virology at the molecular level'. Protein-protein, protein-nucleic acid, and protein-lipid interactions determine the structure of virus particles, the synthesis and expression of virus genomes and the effects of viruses on the host cell.

It is necessary to understand the nature of viruses. In order to understand current concerns and future directions in virology , it is useful to know something of the history of virology. Why did researchers think the way they did and how did they approach problems ? Although many of you are familar with experimental techniques, there are some applications that are unique to virology and perhaps not in your technical toolkit, so we will deal with learning objectives that address competence in the use of biotechnology, instrumentation, and research methods in virology. Additional learning objectives will challenge your analytical and intuitive skills by analyzing figures and data from journal articles in class discussions . Lastly, a learning objective addressing quantitative skills will be covered in the topic dealing with viral mathematics . This course deals with practical and theoretical virology. A brief outline for the course is listed below. Syllabus details will be posted on our Web site or handed out in class, usually on a weekly basis. We will not be locked into a rigid time frame for a topic but will gauge our progress using the syllabus as a guide. Discussion of a current newsworthy article may take the place of a standard lecture. Reading of the entire text is highly recommended since it is such a well written book. Outside reading will be provided or posted in a our glass wall cabinet in the Biology Lab Wing . We will have numerous handouts. For success in this course, you should have had at least a C or better grade from BIOL 319/equivalent and Biochemistry/Microbiology courses. Molecular details of replication, transcription, RNA splicing, etc., should be in your background. We will cover animal, plant, bacterial, and insect virology. Emphasis on disease symptoms will be stressed when it is pertinent to viral life cycle.

Step Up Your Vocab: Click on Vocabulary link

A fact of life, much to the surprise of many students, is that a new vocabulary, often appearing to border on a new language, faces us when we study any specialty.

Poor Exam Grades: If your grades on early quizzes are not those you hoped for, please come and see me asap. I can review your lecture notes, go over the quiz 'line by line' and suggest study aids to help you. It is useful and fun to study in a group and/or have a question/answer session with other students . Organize your notes to make an effective study notebook; leave a few blank pages after each lecture for supplemental fill in. Office Hours: Any changes to the office hour schedule will be announced in class beforehand whenever possible or posted on my office door. Please use office hours if you are unclear about the material ( the sooner, the better). If you are unable to meet at the assigned time, leave a message (date and time) when and where you can be reached ; we will set up an alternative meeting time.

It is assumed that the fundamentals of cellular and molecular biology are a part of your background. The author provides some review in portions of Chapters 1,3, and 4. We will not spend much time on this.

We will sometimes focus on a select number of pertinent viral diseases.

Course Policies:

School closing(s): Qizzes, exams , assignments and lectures that are postponed due to the University closure (bad weather) or a science building evacuation will be rescheduled for the next class meeting.

Assigned number: Each student will receive an assigned number to use for identification if a score is posted ( ie., in our glass case in the lab wing/Website). Letter grades will be available at the end of the semester via the University Website.

Please refrain from munching on noisy snacks during lecture. Please come to class on time. Also, please do not bring children to class (emergency situations will happen and we can deal with these on a case by case basis if discussed prior to lecture).

Incompletes: Incomplete grades will be given ONLY to students unable to complete the required course work because of a verifiable crisis and at the discretion of the instructor. Incompletes are NOT an automatic. The School of Arts and Sciences has an approved contract form dealing with incompletes; see me for information if this applies to your situation. Incompletes will NOT be given for bad grades.

Exam issuance and make-ups: No quiz/exam will be handed out to a student (who comes in late) after the first person hands in the quiz/exam. No extra time will be given to any student coming late to the exam. Bring a calculator to each exam. You have only 1 week after the graded quiz/exam is returned for discusssion of re-grading or score calculation. There are no makeups given for quizes or Midterm exams .However, one missed quiz may count as your 'lowest dropped quiz'; five quizzes are scheduled - the highest scores on FOUR quizzes will be used for your quiz grade determination.

Exam seating: The instructor reserves the right to relocate students during a quiz/exam.

Attendance: Class attendance in lecture is required. Attendance will be taken during the first week. Students who miss lectures during the first few weeks (especially the first week) of class will likely be removed from the class. Students who have poor class attendance and/or miss quizzes will receive a WR and dropped from the course. Since the exams cover a big portion of lecture material and class handouts, the easiest way to earn a good grade is to come to class and to have a good set of lecture notes scribed by oneself. The textbook will serve both as a reference source for the material covered in lecture and as a direct source of exam questions. The instructor assumes that all students are attending class regularly and on time , that they are therefore fully informed of any announcements made in class (will be also posted on the Web 'Weekly Objectives' site) and are current in their reading of text.Your continued enrollment in this course indicates that you have read and understood this syllabus. Please sign the last page of the syllabus to seal the agreement and to remain in the class.

Withdrawals: If you stop attending class and taking exams without discussing it with Dr. Wanda, you will get a UW or WR. Consult the University withdrawal schedule for the final day to withdraw from class without the permission of your advisor and the instructor . Students who withdraw after that time may receive a WP or WF based on work to date (the grade percentage includes any missed points (exam , assignment , etc.,)BEFORE the withdrawal) and must have the permission of Dr. Wanda.

Lecture Topics - Please note that our coverage schedule & topic details will be posted in the 'Weekly Objectives' link on our Virology Website (flexibility rather than rigid adherence to the following schedule is usual). BE SURE TO PRINT OUT WEEKLY WEBSITE POSTINGS - THEY WILL NOT BE SAVED.

Weeks 1 -3 - Syllabus and handouts ; Scavenger Hunt -I; Classic experiments in virology; Assays of viruses; Technical 'toolkit'; In-class exercises. Read Chapter 1 & Appendix; Handouts range from 1-12 pages in length . Quiz 1

Week 4 - Attachment, penetration, and uncoating (Ch. 2) ; Quiz 2.

Weeks 5 -6 - Starting Wednesday (Chapter 3 ) Prokaryotic Virology;Quiz 3 ..

Weeks 7-9 - Eukaryotic RNA and DNA viruses (Ch. 4&5) Week 7 (Friday)-exam study/review session.Midterm EXAM during week 8 (Monday).

Week 10 - Virus Assembly and Release Mechanisms (Ch. 6) ; Quiz 4.

Weeks 11-13 -Effects of Infection on the Host . Quiz 5 .(Chapters 7&8)

Weeks 14-15 -Subviral entities (Ch. 9) Week 14 (Friday) - exam study/review session.

Finals week - Final (2nd Midterm Exam) Exam ( The University will post the date and time outside of our classroom prior to week 15)

* Please note that details on topics and reading will be available in the 'Weekly Objectives'.

DATES ( subject to change:NOTE: students are responsible for an announcements dealing with a date change for a quiz/exam. No testing will be changed because of other scheduled exams):

Quiz 1 (25 points) - (Friday-week 2).
Quiz 2 (25 points) - ( Wednesday -week 4)
Quiz 3 (25 points) - ( Wednesday - week 6)
Quiz 4 ( 25 points) - ( Monday - week 10)
Quiz 5 (25 points) - ( Wednesday - week 12)
Midterm Exam #1 (100 points) - ( Monday -week 8)
2nd Midterm Exam (100 points) - (Thursday (at noon) , during finals week

BOOK READING - we'll be reading a book throughout the semester entitled 'Ahead of the Curve- David Baltimore's Life in Science' . We all love science and this book will give us an insider's view of science in the making and will be inspirational. We may discuss the reading during our active learning sessions. Reading will be tested by questions on quizzes or midterms ( total points around 40).
Again, course details will be announced in Weekly Objectives.
Miscellaneous assignments -includes Internet search/printouts, in-class group exercises (active learning sessions) or announced reading quiz (possible pop-quiz if reading assignments are being neglected-trust me, I can tell...) (30 points).
Virology Scavenger Hunts- Fun, yet challenging....five bonus points awarded to top group members.....
Graduate (Biol. 555) Paper analysis. (50 points) - Due TBA

Total Biol. 455 points = 330; Biol. 555 = 380
Exam Format and Final Grades:

Quiz / exam questions will have short essay, short answer and problem solving. See sample enclosed in syllabus. Letter grades will be based as follows: A, 87 - 100%; B, 74- 86%; C , 62- 73% ; D, 52- 61%; F , less than 52%. Graded exams will be returned within two class meetings. Biology 455 vs 555 grade determinations are different. The grading scale for Biol. 455 (undergraduates) and Biol. 555 (graduate students) is the same but the latter have an additional 50 points to contend with, due to the EXTRA assignment the graduate students do.
Your signature on the last enclosed page will signify your acknowledgment of the policies in this syllabus. Be sure to record the assigned number and Group # in your notebook or elsewhere. THANK YOU!