LMP436H1 - Microbial Pathogenesis 36L

Course description

The course focuses on host-microbial interaction and analyzes the mechanisms underlying innate immune defense against pathogens.

The course will alternate general lectures and article analysis, and will also include presentations from a selection of invited speakers.


  • Understanding host defense against microbial infection, at the molecular, cellular and tissular level.
  • Exploring pathogenesis mechanisms and how microbes subvert host functions to establish virulence and persistence.
  • Providing an in-depth analysis of host innate immune defense programs, including Toll-like receptors, Nod-like receptors and Rig-I-like receptors.
  • Revealing how evolutionary conserved stress response pathways contribute to host defense against infection.
  • Defining host-microbial interactions in other model organisms (such as Drosophila, C. elegans) to reveal universal versus specific concepts.
  • Challenging our critical thinking through group analysis of important recent articles in the field, with a focus on the intestinal epithelium.


You need to have a general knowledge of microbiology (e.g., bacterial cell wall composition, viral replication), as well as cell biology (e.g., signal transduction pathways such as MAP kinases or NF-κB).

Familiarity with the main concepts of immunology is a plus but is not required.

Course requirements:

  • BCH210H1 / BCH242Y1
  • IMM334Y1 / MGY377H1

Course coordinator

Dr. Stephen Girardin

Office address: MSB, Room 6304


Teaching assistant

Justin Meade                                      



Winter 2022

Class location and time

Wednesdays 1 - 3 pm


Office hours

Contact TA

Course details

  • Hours: 36L
  • Prerequisite: BCH210H1/BCH242Y1, IMM334Y1/MGY377H1
  • Exclusions: none
  • Distribution requirements: Science
  • Breadth requirement: Living Things and Their Environment (4)
  • Enrolment limits: 45 students

Student evaluation

Assignments (Article Analysis) 16%

Midterm - February 16 (Lectures 1- 5)  38%

Exam, April TBA (Cumulative) 46%

See information on Academic Integrity

Article Analysis Assignments

Please send an electronic copy to the TA by the beginning of class at 1 pm.

The assignments should be maximum of 1.5 pages, single-spaced (do not go over the page limit).


  • A 2 - 4 sentence summary of the paper focusing on the most important discoveries (do not summarize the abstract)
  • Background research on the authors
  • What the paper builds on (e.g. what was the previous knowledge and state of the field before this paper?)
  • The major output/contribution this paper provides to the future of the field (e.g. clinical, therapeutic advancements etc.)
  • Pick one result/figure that you deem to be the most elegant/creative/original, and another result/figure that is flawed/a limitation, and explain your choices


The midterm will consist of short answer questions that will cover lectures 1 - 5.


During each article analysis lecture, students will be divided into small groups and will be assigned a figure/panel from the paper.

Each group will discuss the figure/panel and present their findings to the class.

Exam (2 hours)

The exam will be held during the exam period (April).

The exam will consist of short answer questions that will cover lectures 1-12 (the exam is CUMULATIVE).

Missed Midterm/Assignments

If there are extenuating circumstances (illness, death in family) that prevent you from completing an assignment on time, you must email the instructor as soon as possible, preferably before the deadline and no later than one week after the due date.

Requests for extensions will be granted if there are legitimate medical or compassionate grounds only.

You must complete the 'Verification of illness' (or doctor's note). 


If you wish to have your midterm/assignment re-graded you must arrange a meeting with the instructor within one week after the work has been returned to discuss in detail the reasons for requesting a re-grade.