Under the Radar Screen: How Bugs Trick Our Immune Defenses

Photo of bugs invading the immune system.

To ensure their own survival, viruses, bacteria, and parasites have devised ways to evade the immune surveillance of their respective host. By looking at the specific ways by which these microbes defeat the immune system and the molecular mechanisms that are under attack, the course aims to explore both host-pathogen interaction as well as gain insight into how the immune system operates when faced with such a challenge. (Image courtesy of Dr. G. Grotenbreg.)


MIT Course Number


As Taught In

Spring 2007



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Course Description

Course Features

Course Description

In this course, we will explore the specific ways by which microbes defeat our immune system and the molecular mechanisms that are under attack (phagocytosis, the ubiquitin/proteasome pathway, MHC I/II antigen presentation). Through our discussion and dissection of the primary research literature, we will explore aspects of host-pathogen interactions. We will particularly emphasize the experimental techniques used in the field and how to read and understand research data. Technological advances in the fight against microbes will also be discussed, with specific examples.

This course is one of many Advanced Undergraduate Seminars offered by the Biology Department at MIT. These seminars are tailored for students with an interest in using primary research literature to discuss and learn about current biological research in a highly interactive setting. Many instructors of the Advanced Undergraduate Seminars are postdoctoral scientists with a strong interest in teaching.

Related Content

Gijsbert Grotenbreg, and Marie-Eve Paquet. 7.340 Under the Radar Screen: How Bugs Trick Our Immune Defenses. Spring 2007. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, https://ocw.mit.edu. License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

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