AISC612.0

Microbiology and Infectious Diseases

Sites: HMS and Clinical Sites
Director(s): Cammie Lesser, Max Nibert
Offered: April
Location: HMS - Harvard Medical School (0)
Open to Exclerks: No (HMS only)
Description: Summary: Despite substantial progress in controlling infectious diseases through therapeutics, vaccines, and other public health measures, they continue to be a source of suffering and death around the world, especially but not only in low-resource settings. Increasing resistance to antibiotics, hospital-associated infections, opportunistic infections associated with immunosuppressive therapies, and emergence of new human pathogens from animal reservoirs are recognized threats. At the same time, our scientific understanding of infectious diseases continues to expand and enhance tools for prevention and interdiction. In addition, the key role of the human microbiome is increasingly appreciated, not only in infectious diseases but also in other aspects of human health such as autoimmunity and obesity. The goal of this course is to equip students with a vision of the challenges, and their possible solutions, in the 21st century. Classroom sessions: Students and instructors meet in the TMEC every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoons, 1:00–5:00pm. These afternoon sessions are spent as a full group, exploring recent progress and outstanding questions that relate to different state-of-the-art topics in Microbiology & Infectious Disease. For example, in 2019, the weekly topics were Emerging Issues with Antibiotic Resistance, Novel Approaches to Antibiotic Resistance, Opportunistic Infections; and HIV/AIDS. Subtopics include diagnostics, therapeutics, pathogenesis, vaccines, and other aspects of public health. Learning to formulate and investigate specific questions in a critical manner as well as critical reading of primary papers are points of emphasis throughout the course. Clinical sessions: Each student is assigned to one of four HMS-affiliated hospitals and meets with the respective clinical site director every Tuesday and Thursday morning or afternoon, as arranged by each director. Three to five students are assigned to each clinical site. The clinical sessions are designed to explore the interface between basic science and clinical medicine in the current practice and study of Microbiology & Infectious Disease as relates to individual patients. In addition to case-oriented activities, the clinical sessions will include field trips to clinical diagnostic facilities in each hospital or elsewhere. Anticipated schedule: All AISCs are full time courses. Students are expected to devote at least 40 hours per week to scheduled sessions and preparatory work. The course will consist of two half days in clinic (Tuesdays and Thursdays) and three half days in the classroom (Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons), as detailed above.