Fall 2023 - HSCI 478 D100

Seminar in Molecular Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases (3)

Class Number: 4935

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 6 – Dec 5, 2023: Mon, 2:30–5:20 p.m.

    Oct 10, 2023: Tue, 2:30–5:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    MBB 331 or HSCI 326 or MBB 326, with a minimum grade of C, or HSCI 338 with a minimum grade of C-.



Application of modern molecular methods to epidemiological questions. Globally-relevant and emerging infectious diseases will be highlighted. Students with credit for MBB 478 may not take this course for further credit.


This senior seminar course will provide a broad overview of the application of modern molecular and genomics methods to infectious disease epidemiology. Topics will include the identification, classification, characterization, and monitoring of pathogens in human populations; the application of molecular methods to screening, prevention and treatment of infectious diseases; and the analysis of molecular and genomics data for disease. Globally relevant diseases will be highlighted.


By the end of the course, students will have a strong foundational knowledge of molecular and genomic epidemiology methods, the distribution of host and pathogen genetic diversity in populations, and an understanding of how genetic factors influence disease risk and outcomes. The assignments for this course will provide students with the opportunity to develop, or hone, their presentation skills, their ability to perform primary literature searches, as well as improve their reading, interpreting, critiquing and summarizing of primary research articles. Hands-on computational data analysis assignments are designed to show students state-of-the-art genomic epidemiology analytic solutions.

- Explain the techniques and applications of modern laboratory methods, including phylogenetic analyses, to the identification, surveillance, prevention, and treatment of infectious diseases

- Describe how host and pathogen genetic variation is distributed globally and enumerate examples of how such variation influences disease acquisition risk and disease outcomes

- Explain how information on pathogen genetic variation is (and can be) incorporated in the design of intervention strategies (e.g.: vaccines, therapeutics)

- Conduct basic literature searches

- Conduct basic genomic epidemiological data analysis

- Demonstrate competence in reading, interpreting and critiquing primary research articles and present the material in an accessible manner


  • 6 Quizzes (5% each) 30%
  • 3 Genomic Epi Data Analysis Assignments ( 10% each) 30%
  • Final Exam (up to 60% if there are missing quizzes) 30%
  • Participation 10%



Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website http://www.sfu.ca/students/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


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the semester are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.