Faculties and centres
The word “immunology” comes from the latin "immunis" which means "no charge", understanding by charge a tax, law or disease. It is said that those individuals who do not succumb to the disease when infected are immune, and this state of resistance to a specific disease is called immunity. The first contributions of the Immunology to Biology and Medicine, departed from the idea that it was possible to induce immunity to pathogens preventing therefore the appearance of infectious diseases; hence, the rationale for vaccines represents the historical birth of immunology. Until the sixties of the last century, the greatest progress of Immunology occurred in the elucidation of the nature of the antibodies, complement and the antigen-antibody reaction. These advances have made possible development and improvement of serological diagnostic methods and their application to other fields, with the subsequent appearance of the radioimmunoassay and enzyme immunoassay. The last decades of the century witnessed the great boom of the studies concerning the critical role of cellular immunity in immune responses, which served to complete the knowledge of the acquired immunity mechanisms. More recently, innate immunity, their cells and molecules, have also occupied an important place in the study of the defense mechanisms.
Currently, Immunology is one of the greatest interest areas in the field of biology, especially in Health Sciences. The importance of this subject in the curriculum of the degree in biology is determined by several factors:
1) The immune response is a physiological process essential to understand the operational of organisms.
2) The immune response is a basic process in the context of infectious diseases and the immune system abnormalities constitute a group of very important pathologies.
3) Immune-based techniques currently used in laboratory are key to reach a proper diagnostic
In addition to the usual difficulties inherent in any discipline, we must be aware of the added challenges of immunology. Indeed, throughout this course students have to become familiar with new vocabulary (cytokine, Cluster of differentiation, Antigen and antibody, complement system, etc) that so far has been completely unknown to them. They should also learn to manage certain complex reagents and machines. So at the end of this program we only pursue the student to be able of knowing and understanding basic and fundamental aspects of Immunology, as well as to initiate themselves in the management of some of the main laboratory techniques used in such discipline.
Generic Degree Course Competences
Specific Competences:>> Ability
Generic UA Competences
• To provide students with the basic knowledge of the different elements of the immune system.
• To develop in students the ability to connect the acquired concepts, ie. to have an integrated Immunology vision, so that they can understand the multiple interactions happening between the different compartments of the immune system during a normal immune response.
• To highlight the experimental nature of Immunology and to promote acquisition of laboratory experimentation.
• To introduce students into the main pathologies derived from a quantitative, qualitative or functional impairment of the normal immune response.
• To familiarize students with the terminology and use of information sources (ICT) related with Immunology.
• Understanding the cellular and molecular basis of innate and adaptive immune response.
• Understanding the mechanisms of antigen processing and presentation.
• To know how the selection of B and T lymphocytes repertoire is performed.
• To know kinetics and tissue localization of the immune response: uptake and antigen presentation, cell activation and apoptosis mechanisms, memory generation, recycling and nesting of virgin, effector and memory cells.
• Understanding the mechanisms of signal transduction mediated through antigen receptors, cytokine receptors or inhibitory/costimulatory molecules.
• Learning to isolate cells belonging to the immune system, by using different techniques. Management and adjustment of cell concentrations. Measuring cell viability.
• Learning some of the simpler techniques used in the purification of different cell populations.
• To describe and interpret histological samples and pictures of lymphoid organs.
• To acquire the ability of using laboratory techniques aimed to define the proportion of the different leukocyte populations in a healthy individual.
• To acquire the ability of using laboratory techniques to reveal the degree of cellular functionality.
• To be able of linking Immunology to other disciplines of Health and Experimental Biosciences.
• To predict whether the specific innate immune system will be able of recognizing a microorganism invasion and to determine the effector mechanisms leading to the infection curing.
• To predict the cooperation of the different compartments of the immune system in eliminating various microorganisms.
• To develop the capacity for analysis and resolution of immunological problems.
• To acquire the ability to integrate the different mechanisms used by the immune response.
• Team working to solve problems and laboratory practices.
• To develop critical thinking.
• To demonstrate motivation for quality.