Spring 2024 - MBB 427 D100

Immune Responses in Health and Disease (3)

Class Number: 5683

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 8 – Apr 12, 2024: Wed, 2:30–4:20 p.m.

    Jan 8 – Apr 12, 2024: Fri, 2:30–4:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    One of MBB 326, HSCI 326, MBB 426 or HSCI 426, with a minimum grade of C, or permission of the instructor.



Defects in the immunologic response to bacterial, viral and parasitic infections. The mechanisms of action of vaccines. The causes of immune-mediated diseases, such as autoimmune diseases, hypersensitivity reactions (including asthma and allergy) and organ transplant rejection. The reaction of the immune system to cancer and immunotherapy for cancer. Students with credit for HSCI 427 cannot take MBB 427 for credit.


The immune system is a complex and delicately balanced system of many sub-systems, and its action often has both good and deleterious impacts.  The theme of this course will be to deconstruct the simplified one-dimensional view of the immune system as a force of protection for the good of the host, and to explore its dual roles in maintaining health but also in causing or being involved in disease.  Furthermore, pathogens interact in complex ways with the immune system, often subverting it for their own gain or re-directing it to cause future health problems in the host. 

Lecture Topics
This course aims to explore the complexities and molecular/cellular mechanisms that underpin the balance between the dual roles of the immune system in health and disease.  We will do so in the context of three modules:

  1. Generation of receptor diversity: necessary for immunity but also a driver of cancer
  2. Anti-viral factors that restrict virus replication, and their subversion by viruses and roles in cancer
  3. The links between immunodeficiencies, autoimmunity and cancers


  • 2 mid-term exams (35% each) 70%
  • Group presentation (team-based) 25%
  • Written summary and presentation 5%



Original research articles and review articles

The Immune System, 5th Ed., Peter Parham, 2021.  Norton.
ISBN: 978-0-393-53334-7


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.

Department Undergraduate Notes:

  • For help with writing, learning and study strategies please contact the Student Learning Commons at
  • Students requiring accommodations as a result of a disability, must contact the Centre for Accessible Learning (778-782-3112 or e-mail:  caladmin@sfu.ca)

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 term 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.