Traditional classroom / didactic teaching in virology includes a 3-credit graduate-level (MWF) course “General Virology – Multiplication of Viruses” and a 2-credit upper-level undergraduate (TTh) course “Biology of Viruses”, both of which are taught by professors in virology. A one-credit graduate-level seminar course “Molecular Virology,” (Biochem 910), is also offered both fall and spring semesters and is routinely attended by 40-60 individuals (students, staff, postdocs, and faculty) interested in virus-related topics.
General Virology – Multiplication of Viruses: this capstone course is offered every Fall semester. Students can register for the course as Oncology 640, Microbiology 640, or Plant Pathology 640, depending on their graduate program affiliation. This is an advanced course taken by many entering graduate students, a varied group of other advanced and returning students interested in virology (e.g., from the Veterinary, Nursing, or Law schools), and select undergraduates. The goals of the course are to introduce students to the major classes of viruses and their replication mechanisms, to examine virus-host interactions, and to discuss the public health aspects of virus infections, as well as the beneficial use of viruses in research, biotechnology, and medicine. The course is rigorous and demanding. It is not taught solely from a textbook but uses the primary research literature. The exams (three in class and one comprehensive final) are challenging and ask students to interpret experimental results, and to design their own experiments to ask important questions about viral replication and pathogenesis.
Biology of Viruses: MMI/Biochem 575 is a two-credit, high rewards virology course designed for upper-level undergraduates with a biochemistry/molecular biology background. Graduate credit is available. It is an in-depth introductory study of medically important virus pathogens and is designed for students with research or medical career interests in areas of biological science, infectious disease, and public health. The principal objective is to understand the biochemical and genetic fundamentals of viruses, their multiplication, transmission, and disease manifestations, as well as explaining the effective approaches for prevention and intervention of infection. Addressed are the molecular mechanisms of virus multiplication, disease pathogenesis, vaccinations, anti-viral drug strategies, and how viruses pose new threats to human health due to emergence, evolution, and climate change. Critical concepts related to viruses used in gene therapy, cancer treatment (oncolytic viruses), vaccines, and biotechnology are included. The course is well received and routinely receives an average score of 4.7 (of 5.0) when compared to other upper-level UW-Madison science courses. It meets twice per week in the Spring semester and has three exams, several problem sets, and an optional discussion session.
Molecular Virology Seminar: Biochemistry 910 is a weekly 1-credit seminar course. Eminent virologists visiting from other institutions, as well as campus faculty and students, offer 50-min presentations. Attendance includes graduate students, undergrads, staff researchers, and faculty; some students register for this seminar class as part of their required curriculum. The seminar represents an essential way to keep abreast of research on campus and hot topics in virology worldwide. The weekly meeting is a great place to network with faculty and students, to learn about new techniques and exciting advances, and to establish new collaborations. Well attended due to its academic and social utility, “Molecular Virology” is one of the longest continuously running seminar series on the UW campus.
Other courses that virology students find helpful include: