MICR 8204: Current Methods in Immunology

MICRO 8204 builds on MICR 8200/8202, with an emphasis on exploring new and emerging methodologies, critically reading papers, and developing more effective communication through oral and written exercises. This course is particularly designed to provide training in quantitative and integrative immunology. The course will provide students with an introduction to the principles of systems approaches in the context of immunology and is intended to provide students with a basis to integrate systems approaches into their own projects. Topics will include: 1) introduction to the principles of systems biology and overview of recent advances in systems immunology; 2) high dimensional flow cytometry (spectral flow cytometry, CyTOF) data analysis, including clustering analysis and trajectory finding; 3) single cell sequencing and immune profiling, 4) immune regulation and epigenetics (RNA-seq, ChIP-seq, ATAC-seq, Hi-C); 5) metabolomics and proteomics; 6) high dimensional and intravital imaging. Instruction emphasizes combining multiplexed quantitative measurements with computational modeling – data-driven and mechanistic – to better understand immune regulation and dysregulation in various organ systems. Discussion will include the selection of the appropriate systems approaches and computational tools to answer specific questions in immunity, and instruction on manipulating publicly available databases/data sets that can be leveraged to validate experimental findings or building new hypotheses. Leveraging diverse expertise of Immunology Training Program mentors spanning various departments within the UVA School of Medicine, Engineering and the newly founded, first in the nation, School of Data Science, this course combines lectures with journal club/round-table in-class discussions and pre-class hands-on computational assignments in R statistical computing environment. The course emphasizes “theory and application” by marrying specific technologies to current papers. With course director approval, advanced students and postdoctoral fellows from Immunology Training Program faculty labs who use systems approaches in their research may select a topic and/or serve as lecturers and discussion leaders, providing them with teaching experience.