Fall 2018 - MBB 726 G100

The Immune System I: Basis of Innate and Adaptive Immunity (4)

Class Number: 3553

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 4 – Dec 3, 2018: Mon, 2:30–3:20 p.m.

    Sep 4 – Dec 3, 2018: Wed, 2:30–4:20 p.m.

    Sep 4 – Dec 3, 2018: Fri, 2:30–3:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    MBB 331 or permission of the instructor.



Basic organization of the immune system, including structure, function and genetics of antibodies, T-cell receptors, innate immune receptors, and the complement system; structure and function of lymphoid tissues. Development of cells and tissues involved in immune responses. Innate and adaptive antibody and cellular immune responses and their orchestration, including mucosal immunity. Students with credit for MBB 426 or HSCI 426 or HSCI 726 may not complete this course for further credit.


The course will consist of lectures, based almost entirely on the readings in the required textbook, weekly in-class activiites, an in-class 20-min presentation of a primary paper from the primary immunology literature by each grad student, and accompanying 3-4 page summary of it, as well as attendence and participation in some of the undergrad tutorials (those in which students present papers from the primary literature).

Should the class decide, there will be 4 in-class, non-comprehensive quizzes, and no final examination (otherwise the last quiz will be taken during exam week).

Further details and a schedule of lectures, readings, presentations and in-class activities will be provided in a syllabus that will be uploaded to the course website.

Lectures Topic Chapters
 1  Properties and Overview of Immune Responses  1
 2-3  Cells & Tissues of the Immune System   2
 4-5  Leukocyte Circulation & Migration into Tissues  3
 6-8  Innate Immunity    4
 9-10  Antibodies & Antigens  5
 11-12  MHC & Antigen Presentation to T cells  6
 13-14  Immune Receptors & Signal Transductio  7
 15  B-lymphocyte Development & Antigen-receptor Gene Rearrangement  8
 16  Overview of Tolerance & B-lymphocyte Tolerance 15
 T-lymphocyte Development  and Tolerance
 8 & 15
 19  Activation of T cells  9   
 20  Differentiation & Functions of CD4T-effector Cells  10
 21  Differentiation & Functions of CD8+ T-effector Cells  11 
 22-23  B-cell Activation & Antibody Production  12
 24-25  Effector Mechanisms of Humoral Immunity  13   
 26-27  Specialized Immunity at Epithelial Barriers & in Immune Privileged Tissues  14


This 4-credit course will be a lot of work, but you will learn a lot of very cool immunology. My intention is for you to develop a firm foundation in the basics of the immune system and how it functions, which will prepare you for advanced immunology courses (e.g., Immune System II (MBB/HSCI 427/727) and Vaccine Immunology (HSCI 477/727)). My goal is for you to become a more independent learner, to become fluent in concepts in the current immunology literature, and to learn to effectively research topics in immunology and communicate the results of that research. In short, I hope to provide you with the basic knowledge and skills to think critically in immunology, and to function successfully in a graduate immunology program (or, really, in any graduate program in cell/molecular biology).


  • Weekly in-class activities (15 pts) 5%
  • Tutorial participation (10 pts) 3.3%
  • 20-min presentation and summary (65 pts) 21.7%
  • Four 40-min quizzes (210 pts) 70%


The textbook is required for this course, as is attendance to the in-class activities and tutorials in which student presentations will be held.



A. K. Abbas et alCellular and Molecular Immunology. 9th Edition. 2017. Elsevier Inc. http://www.elsevier.ca/ISBN/9780323479783/Cellular-and-Molecular-Immunology
ISBN: 9780323479783


Those interested in medicine & clinical sciences might like the companion text:

R. Geha & L. Notarangelo.  Case Studies in Immunology. 7th Ed. 2016.  Garland Publishing
ISBN: 9780815345121

A good molecular biology reference is Alberts et al., Molecular Biology of the Cell (5th or 6th Ed), 2014 or 2007, respectively, Garland Science, New York. 

Graduate Studies Notes:

Important dates and deadlines for graduate students are found here: http://www.sfu.ca/dean-gradstudies/current/important_dates/guidelines.html. The deadline to drop a course with a 100% refund is the end of week 2. The deadline to drop with no notation on your transcript is the end of week 3.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://students.sfu.ca/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html