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Contagion: Infectious Agents & Diseases

Zika, Ebola, HIV, SARS…in our increasingly globalized and mobile world, infectious diseases can emerge and spread faster than ever before, making epidemics, even pandemics, a real possibility.  That, together with increasing antibiotic resistance, makes understanding where these threats come from and how we can control their spread one of the most urgent issues of our time.  In this three-week course, students will learn about the origin, biology, and evolution of some of the most feared viruses, such as Ebola, HIV, and Influenza, and lethal bacteria such as E. coli.We will explore the nature of emerging diseases and will use particular examples to discover how we can predict and control their spread.  Our dependence on microbes from an evolutionary point of view will also be discussed.  Students will have access to the state-of-the-art laboratory facilities at the University of Chicago for hands-on activities such as PCR, CRISPR, DNA sequencing, DNA sequence analysis, viral culture and antibody studies all applied to the study of infections and immunity (and will not be exposed to dangerous materials).

Open to High School Students

HS Only


Session I


Neubauer Family Adelante Summer Scholars

Area of Study

Biological Science

Primary Instructor

Beatrice Fineschi


Biological Sciences

Course Code

BIOS 15105



Course Length

3 weeks

Class Day(s)

Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri

Start Date

End Date

HS Orientation Date(s)


Class Start Time


Class End Time


Additional Details

  • Students must have successfully completed one year of High School biology.
See Costs & Aid for more information on program costs.
Have a question? Learn more about Summer Session through our Frequently Asked Questions