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Contagion: Infectious Agents & Diseases (Session 1)

Program(s): Immersion

*Taught Online for Summer 2021*  COVID, 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 use online simulations and other activities to explore concepts and techniques such as PCR, CRISPR, DNA sequencing, DNA sequence analysis, viral culture and antibody studies as applied to the study of infections and immunity.

Daily Course Expectations

  • 6 hours of daily work
  • Mix of synchronous and asynchronous work (see definitions here)
  • 1 required synchronous session per day: 9:00 A.M to 12:00 P.M CST

Course Considerations

Students must have a strong performance in at least one year of high school biology to be successful in the course. 

Discussion Intensive

Course Overview

Current Grade / Education Level

9th Grade
10th Grade
11th Grade



Start Date

June 21

End Date

July 08

Class Details

Primary Instructor

Beatrice Fineschi

Academic Interest

Biological Sciences
Human Body

Class Specifics

Course Code

BIOS 15105 94

Class Day(s)

Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri


Session I

Course Length

3 weeks