NSC 586 : Microbiology and Infectious Disease
Spring 2009
M 130pm-330pm
SCI 217
4 Credits - No Credit Variation [unless compelling* reasons AND your advisor’s support] *financial hardship, necessary for graduation etc.

General Information:
Armand L. Balboni
email: abalboni@marlboro.edu
Phone: H- 413-625-0131
Office hours: M by appointment

Note on office hours and meetings: I expect to see everyone at least once for office hours during the semester; I will not submit a grade for you if we have not met formally (try not to wait until the last minute; we all get busy at the end of the semester). Please feel free to stop and speak with me during unreserved office hours if you have other questions or concerns you want to discuss. In light of the fact that I am only on campus a few days per week I am open to speaking outside of class (i.e., at breakfast, lunch etc.), but please respect that if I am busy I may ask that we meet at another time.

Communication: I will communicate all official changes to the class via the Courses website and/or via your official Marlboro.edu email. It is your responsibility to link your Marlboro.edu email to any other account you use. Email is the best way to reach me on days that we do not meet and I will check my Marlboro.edu account at least once a day during the week. Assume that I have not received your email unless/until I reply.

The Course:
Course Goals:
1.  To briefly review basic concepts of microbiology, with emphasis on the processes which allow bacteria, fungi, and viruses to cause disease.
2.  To introduce the students to the organization and function of host responses and host defense to disease.
3. To provide students with a survey of the clinically significant bacterial, fungal, parasitic, and viral diseases in the world, with an emphasis on those that have important social, financial, and ethical consequences.
4.  To study the morphology, physiology, virulence factors, pathology and epidemiology, of pathogenic microbes and methods of detection, prevention and treatment of the diseases they cause, using a system by system approach (i.e. diseases of the respiratory tract, gastrointestinal tract etc).
5. Some ‘case study’ examples will be included in lectures in order to better understand the disease concepts.

Readings for this course will come from one required textbook and a number of books that we will use for our book reviews (see below) as well as journal articles, and newspaper articles that we find over the semester. As a survey course I understand that there will be varying levels of experience in biology, as we will be learning a new scientific language, some of the material will be unfamiliar and will require outside reading from a number of sources. Take advantage of your classmate’s knowledge base by forming study groups or by discussing the material outside of class, just a suggestion.

(1) Sherris: Medical Microbiology. An Introduction to Infectious Disease. 4th Edition (or later) Kenneth J. Ryan, C. George Ray

(2) Various fiction, non-fiction as described below

Term tests (Mid-Term and Final): will be a combination of any of essay, case study, short answer, multiple choice, fill in the blanks, matching and true-false etc.  Term tests will be held in March (take-home exam) date TBD, and May (in-class written during final exam week) .

Missed exams may be made up for excused absences only, such as a verified illness, death in the family, and approved university events.  You must notify me IN ADVANCE (or see that someone else does so for you). Leave me an e-mail or phone message. If you miss a test or exam, and do not contact me, you will be assigned an "F" on that test (mark of "0").   

Book Reviews:

Please visit the two below websites for more information on how a book review is written.

The review should be written well - as though for an English course - and content, style, grammar and mechanics will contribute to your final grade.
Remember: When writing a paper of any kind, you should always retain copies (hard copies and electronic copies) of your drafts and notes (should any plagiarism issues arise).

For the write-up:
Length: 1500 - 2000 words

Any references should be cited at the end (you may not have any).

Failure to turn in the report at the scheduled time will result in an automatic 10% grade reduction followed by another 10% grade reduction for each day the review is late. Plagiarism will not be tolerated and will result in a failing grade for the course.
1 - Formatting correctly in Microsoft Word (.doc)
4 - Style, grammar, spelling and mechanics
20 - Content

A suggested list for illustrative purposes only – I am open to other works if we discuss it and I approve BEFORE you submit a written product. Artwork, films, interpretive dance etc. MAY be substituted with the aforementioned caveat of prior approval. Note that the burden is on you to relate the material to microbiology and infectious disease in a written review format...

The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance
Laurie Garrett
New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1994

Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond (Hardcover)

Outbreak! Plagues That Changed History by Bryn Barnard (Hardcover)

An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793 (Newbery Honor Book) by Jim Murphy (Hardcover)

Twelve Diseases That Changed Our World by Irwin W. Sherman (Paperback)

When Plague Strikes: The Black Death, Smallpox, AIDS by James Cross Giblin (Paperback)

The Woman with a Worm in Her Head: And Other True Stories of Infectious Disease by Pamela Nagami (Paperback)

Plague Time: The New Germ Theory of Disease by Paul Ewald (Paperback)

The Hot Zone: A Terrifying True Story by Richard Preston (Paperback)

The syllabus contains information you need to come to class prepared. You are responsible for this information.

Educational research studies show a direct, positive correlation between attendance and grades. If you miss a class you are responsible for obtaining any lecture material, handouts, discussion information, and announcements from a classmate – random in-class assignments, if missed or low scores, may not be made up. Keep in mind that in class preparation/in class assignments are worth 22.5% of your final grade – attendance is necessary to receive these points… 

Grading Scheme:
In class Preparation/In-class assignments =   45 points
2 Term tests during the Semester (40 points each) =   80 points
3 Book Reviews (25 points each) =   75 points
        TOTAL = 200 points
                                        Extra Credit  =  up to 20 points

Extra credit requests will be entertained – up to a maximum of 20pts (see below).
Extra Credit:
There is an opportunity to receive extra credit (up to 20 points) by preparing and delivering a lecture (30min) on a topic related to the material we discuss in class. I am particularly interested in lectures that explore the role of a particular infectious agent in disease and HOW and WHY the disease affects people differently in different parts of the world. I am open to other ideas and encourage you all to take advantage of this opportunity to earn extra credit and explore how you can relate your work in this class to the wider community.                                           

A final letter grade will be awarded averaging all the points for total percent marks. The following scheme will be used for letter grades
90-100%         = A
80-89.9 % = B
70-79.9% = C
60-69.9% = D
< 60 % = F

Grades WILL NOT be curved at the end of the semester.  Any adjustments, if needed, will be included in each individual exam, or report.  In this way students will be able, at all times, to keep track of where they stand in the course. 

Schedule and Readings

Last modified: Monday, December 19, 2011, 9:18 AM