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Biology of the Next Pandemic

East Baltimore
4th Term
Molecular Microbiology and Immunology
Academic Year
2023 - 2024
Instruction Method
Class Time(s)
M, W, 1:30 - 2:50pm
Auditors Allowed
Yes, with instructor consent
Available to Undergraduate
Grading Restriction
Letter Grade or Pass/Fail
Contact Name
Frequency Schedule
Every Year
Pandemics - the black death, smallpox, cholera, the 1918 influenza, AIDS, and COVID19 - inflicted profound damage on health, economies, and societies and so shaped the world we live in today. The emergence and course of these pandemics reflected prevailing environmental, population, societal, technological, medical, and public health circumstances. Are pandemics inevitable? Can we detect the patterns associated with previous pandemics to predict what the future might hold? Can we prevent the next pandemic? Understanding the biological foundations of pandemics is essential for answering these questions.
Examines the biology of pandemic pathogens and the demographic and biological factors that render human populations vulnerable to pandemics. Addresses the ecological, economic, societal, technological, medical, immunological, ethical and public health factors associated with previous pandemics. Explores approaches that apply the biological properties of pathogens and populations to identify other urgent pandemic threats. Discusses steps to prevent the emergence of pandemic pathogens and mitigate the impact of emerging infections. Prepares students to evaluate educational and policy measures that can maximize the impact of biological and public health prevention and control measures.
Learning Objectives
Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  1. Explain the difference between endemic, epidemic, and pandemic disease
  2. Describe the common properties of the agents of pandemics
  3. Articulate the principles of disease ecology that describe interactions of human and animal populations and environment relevant to pandemic emergence
  4. Apply biological and ecological principles to assess pandemic potential of a pathogen
  5. Propose preventative and therapeutic biological, medical, and public health strategies for blunting a pandemic threat
  6. Appraise preparedness measures for the next pandemic
  7. Design educational and policy strategies that need to be in place to effectively respond to the next pandemic
Methods of Assessment
This course is evaluated as follows:
  • 60% Group Work
  • 40% Final Project