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CANCELLED - Microbiology and Social Justice of Famous and Forgotten Diseases

Department: Biology                                                       

Instructors: Tara Drakes
Instructor's Email: 
Prerequisites: none 
Schedule: TBD

Course Description

This course is designed to highlight the intersection between social justice and microbiology. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the connections between human activity and the initiation and prolonging of an epidemic/pandemic are becoming increasingly evident. Furthermore, specific social groups have historically been indiscriminately affected by pandemics, highlighting the need for advocacy and social justice in a world that is currently subject to several long standing epidemics. There are two primary recurring themes throughout this course. Firstly, while disease is caused by microorganisms, both humans and microbes collaborate in the spread of disease, and ultimately in the establishment of an epidemic or a pandemic. Secondly, epidemics/pandemics amplify social justice violations and have been historically significant in the establishment of modern-day ethical and public health standards. By the end of this course, students will be equipped with critical knowledge of microbiology and disease pathogenesis, and analytical skills to appraise and propose public health standards and social justice practices through a microbiological lens.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will:

  • Understand basic principles of general biology, microbiology, and immunology that are needed to understand pandemics/epidemics.
  • Identify social and biological factors that enable the prevalence, transmission, prevention, and treatment of infectious diseases.
  • Appreciate the diversity of microbial life and pandemics they cause.
  • Acknowledge the contributions of hard-working individuals to the control/obliteration of various pandemics.
  • Appreciate the geographical distribution of ongoing pandemics.
  • Defend the role of the scientific process in curbing pandemics.
  • Illustrate the impact of society, wealth, and politics on pandemics and vice versa.
  • Evaluate current public health systems and devise alternative methods to combat current pandemics.
  • Appreciate how cool and essential microbiology and global health are!

Course Topics

  • Introduction to Microbiology
  • Introduction to Pathogenesis
  • 1918 Influenza
  • Leprosy
  • Tuberculosis
  • Bubonic Plague
  • Mosquito-borne infections
  • Typhoid
  • Cholera
  • Polio
  • Smallpox
  • Vaccines

*Courses vary by experience and exposure to content. Instructors have the ability to change content and pace to serve the needs of students. Courses have been modified for online teaching.