Virology Graduate Training

The CVR has a long tradition of being very active in teaching, especially graduate education.  Most members of the CVR are involved in the interdisciplinary graduate program in Cellular and Molecular Biosciences (CMB). 

Virology Research at UCI is comprised of faculty, students, postdoctoral fellows and laboratory staff who have common research and teaching interests in virology and related disciplines.  It shares a common core curriculum with all other tracks in the CMB graduate program.  The research programs of faculty participants include the study of genome replication, viral specific transcription, viral RNA processing, viral translation, viral protein processing, and assembly and transport of viral structural proteins.  There are also research efforts aimed at understanding virus-host interactions that include studies of how virus gene products alter and program host functions, alteration of host regulatory molecules, growth control, cell cycle regulation, differentiation control, the role of the innate immune response, the integration specificity of viral genomes, and the subversion of host functions for virus gene expression.  The viruses/viral systems being studied include murine leukemia virus, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), retrotransposons in yeast, poliovirus and human rhinovirus, coronaviruses, papillomavirus, herpes simplex virus, polyomavirus and adenovirus.

The curriculum for the Virology training program includes core elective courses in viral gene expression, molecular pathogenesis of viral infections, and immunopathogenic mechanisms of disease.  Students in the Virology Research also participate in a seminar series sponsored by the Center for Virus Research.  Seminars are generally held once a month during the academic year.  Leading national researchers are invited to present their work in different areas of virology, gene regulation, cell transformation, and a variety of topics in molecular biology and molecular genetics.  Alternating with the seminars by invited outside speakers are research-in-progress seminar presentations by graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in the laboratories of participating faculty.  These seminars provide a stimulating forum for exchanges of scientific ideas and information and for a critical analysis of data generated by the graduate students and fellows making the oral presentations.

Mol Bio 201C:  Virology Journal Club.  Participation in this journal club is mandatory for all Virology training grant trainees and is strongly recommended for other graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in the laboratories of the CVR faculty.  The virology journal club is held every week during the Spring quarter.  Each student is assigned a presentation date at the start of the quarter.  The paper for presentation is chosen by the presenting student, and submitted to the course director (currently Professor Paul Gershon) for approval at least two weeks prior to presentation.  The subject of the paper is decided by the student presenter and should be a key paper related to the student’s research and training but not chosen directly from that student’s field, thereby increasing the breadth of training.  The first paper of the quarter is presented by the course director to provide an example of what is expected of the student presentations.

Mol Bio 205Topics in Viral Gene Expression.  This course covers numerous aspects of the molecular virology of DNA and RNA viruses (including retroviruses) with an emphasis on mechanisms of gene expression and virus-host interactions.  The course is offered every year during the Winter quarter and consists of didactic lectures and student presentations.  This course is taught by Professors Semler, Lane, Buchmeier, Sandmeyer, Sandri-Goldin, and Gershon.

Mol Bio M217A:  Principles of Cancer Biology I.   This course is offered during the Winter quarter of even years.  Oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes are studied from molecular viewpoints. Also studies their role in cancer as well as viral mechanisms of carcinogenesis. Designed for graduate students interested in cancer research. Format includes lectures and student-led discussions.  Prerequisites: Molecular Biology and Biochemistry 203 and 204.

M&MG 221: Immunopathogenic Mechanisms of Disease (elective course).  This course examines the mechanisms underlying disease states mediated by immune dysregulation. Topics include innate and adaptive immunity, autoimmunity, immunodeficiency, inflammatory disorders and certain infectious diseases.  Emphasis on biological basis of immunopathologies taught from reports in the original scientific literature. Lecturers include Andrea Tenner, and Christopher Hughes.  Prerequisite: Microbiology and Molecular Genetics 215.  Same as Pathology 221.

M&MG 222Molecular Pathogenesis of Viral Infections.  This course is offered in the Spring quarter every other year and features faculty didactic lectures and graduate student presentations.  The course focuses on molecular mechanisms of viral disease and includes immune responses to viral infections, neuropathogenesis, transformation, and other viral-host interactions.  Professor Robinson is the course coordinator and he engages nearly all of the CVR faculty to give lectures and lead graduate student discussions in the course.  The most recent offering of this course (Spring, 2010) included Professors Gershon, Lane, Buchmeier, Semler, and Sandri-Goldin, all CVR faculty members.

Other Courses Taught by CVR Faculty

PUBHLTH 281: Infectious Disease Epidemiology. This course is for graduate students only. Students learn about geographical distribution of infectious diseases and the health and disease risk in diverse human populations. Also, introduces basic methods for infectious disease epidemiology and case studies of important diseases. Includes surveillance, outbreak investigation, emerging pathogens, traditional and molecular epidemiology.

Virology Master’s Training – Biotechnology

In addition to its role in the PhD trainee courses above, the CVR has also been active in the Graduate Program in Biotechnology. It was the CVR (and its members) that initially proposed the development of two high level laboratories in the area of virology and immunology that were to be used for the creation of the Masters Biotechnology program:

MBB 221LAdvanced Immunology Laboratory.  This is an advanced course in immunology for graduate students enrolled in the Biotechnology master’s program. Emphasis is placed on learning modern techniques in immunology such as ELISAs, western blotting, immunofluorescent staining assays. Prerequisite: graduate standing. Concurrent with Biological Sciences M121L. Formerly Molecular Biology and Biochemistry 221.

MBB 224Virus Engineering Laboratory.  This is an advanced laboratory for graduate students enrolled in the Biotechnology master’s program. Students learn to engineer recombinant eukuryotic viruses and express genes in mouse tissue. Prerequisite: graduate standing.

Professor Luis Villarreal developed Mol Bio M124L, Virus Engineering, which is a required course for Masters students. The development of this laboratory was coordinated by CVR member Professor Thomas Lane – MB&B (immunology class). Previously, Professor Lane was appointed as the Director of the Masters Program in Biotechnology.  (At this time, Dr. Michael G. Cumsky of the Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry is serving as Director.)  These two Masters program labs, along with the graduate core classes make up a basic course requirement for the Masters Biotechnology Program. It should also be noted that both of these labs are also offered to advanced undergraduates and are courses that apply to the Molecular Biology and Biochemistry undergraduate major.

Mol Bio M227LImmunology/Virology Laboratory

UCI Undergraduate Courses in Virology

UCI Undergraduate Courses in Microbiology & Immunology

UCI Undergraduate Courses in Cancer Biology