Biochem 575: The Biology of Viruses

Course Format. Biochem 575: Biology of Viruses is a 2-credit course with the goal of instructing upper-level undergraduate students on the molecular biology and biochemistry of viruses and virus infection. Students will learn the fundamentals of virus structure, virus multiplication, disease mechanisms, prevention and intervention of infection, and how viruses pose threats to human and animal health through emergence and evolution. We will discuss selected examples of viruses that impact our world and everyday life. The course will focus on viruses pathogenic to animals but will NOT be a “bug (virus) per day” style of class. At the course’s conclusion, students will understand principles and themes in modern day virology, including virus pathogenesis, vaccination, anti-viral drugs, and gene therapy. Virology 575 is a high-rewards general education course (with an honors option) that will benefit students interested in medicine, public health, biology, and graduate-level research.

Lectures. A package of lecture notes will be provided each day in class. These notes will also be posted on the 575 website at Canvas for color printing. Taking careful classroom notes by using these lecture handouts and reviewing material outside of class will be essential. The lecture notes are not intended to substitute for the lecture presentation nor will the notes include every detail discussed in class. Thus, student attendance during is important. Regular attendance is required and necessary for success.

Prerequisites. Important for student progress is basic knowledge of subjects in Biocore 301/302, Zoology 151/152, or MM&I 301. A solid background in cell biology, genetics, and biochemistry will be necessary, since these principles will be used throughout the course. A class in general biochemistry is highly recommended; one in immunology will be helpful.

Course Website. The website for this virology contains a wealth of information, including the course syllabus, the lectures (as Power Point presentations), lecture handouts, problem sets (+/− answers), practice exams, and Study Guides. Additional information to facilitate student understanding is included.  The website is updated every class. Go to:

Recommended Textbook.  Principles of Virology, 4th Edition, 2015. S.J. Flint, V.R.Racaniello, G.F. Rall, A.M. Skalka (eds). ASM Press. 2 volumes. ISBN 978-1-55581-951-4. This TWO VOLUME textbook is highly recommended, but not required. It is available for purchase, rental, or as an eBook. Limited copies are available at Steenbock Library Reserves Desk and other campus libraries. Overall, it is an excellent reference for lecture concepts and principles, even though it covers more detail than will be discussed in class. Many figures used in lecture presentations by the instructors are adapted from this book.

Graduate Credit.  Graduate students enrolled in this course must also fulfill special university-mandated requirements, which include attending the Molecular Virology Seminar Series, held every Thursday at 12:10 PM in the Biochemical Sciences Building, Room 1211, as an option. Students are not required to enroll in the seminar course (designated Biochem 910) – they need only to attend. Additional assignments must also be completed. Please see Dr. Mehle or Dr. Friesen for the details relevant to receiving graduate credit.