Course Description

The immune system encompasses a broad, highly interactive network of cells, tissues, and anatomical structures that protects us from infection and cancer, yet can also induce autoimmune disease. The course will explore the genetics, cell biology, and physiology that govern both our resistance to infection and the induction of autoimmune disease and allergy. Distinctions between the innate/natural immune system and the adaptive immune system will be discussed. The role of intestinal microbiota, inflammatory reactions, and vaccines will be also studied. Central to the discussions will be the role of cellular subsets (B cells, T cells, macrophages), serum proteins (immunoglobulins and complement), and cell surface receptors whose coordinated activities comprise the immune response. Specific immune pathologies or deficiencies associated with human disease will be also highlighted.

Learner Outcomes

When you complete the course successfully, you will be able to:

  • Summarize key cellular components of the immune response.
  • Distinguish the function of innate/natural and adaptive immune systems.
  • Recall how the key antigen recognition molecules (TCR, BCR) arise from genetic recombination, and how the specificity of the immune repertoire is shaped.
  • Discuss the role of inflammation during infection, autoimmunity, and cancer.
  • Illustrate how cytokine activity affects cell signaling and function.
  • Predict how the immune system plays a role in the resistance to infection, induction of allergies, autoimmunity, and cancer.


This course applies toward the Advanced Cancer Biology Discovery and Biomedical Sciences Endeavor digital badges.


Textbook Information

A textbook is required or recommended for this course.

Click here to view a textbook list for FAES courses and purchasing information. Please note that tuition does not include textbooks.


Familiarity with cell biology. If you are unsure that you meet the prerequisite requirements, please contact registrar@faes.org and provide information about your course of interest and background knowledge

Follow the link to review FAES Tuition Refund Policy.

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