MICROBIO 542 Immunology Laboratory

This laboratory course is designed to help students become familiar with and proficient in the performance of protocols in cellular immunology, immunochemistry and clinical serology. These experiments are designed to introduce the student to the fundamentals of laboratory work in the field of immunology. The laboratory experience is designed to be closely reflect that of a modern immunology lab, taking into consideration the limitations of time and available state-of-the-art equipment. Students will also have relevant lectures in these topic areas to assist in learning the principles governing each of these important protocols. This will be accomplished over the course of the semester by antibody isolation and purification using salt precipitation, ion exchange chromatography and dialysis. Purified IgG antibody molecules will be cleaved by specific enzymes in order to study the protein biochemistry of antibodies, and size exclusion or molecular sieving column chromatography will be used to isolate fragments for further analysis. Students will become proficient in the use of spectrophotometers, perform SDS-PAGE, Western blot analysis, immunoprecipitation, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays, and immunofluorescence staining. The student will also perform comparative proteomics using immunology techniques as well as classic serological assays including the immunodiffusion (Ouchterlony technique) and blood typing. Anatomy of the lymphatic system will be explored using a mouse model. Specifically, student will perform mouse dissection, lymph node examination, and isolation of lymphocytes from the mouse spleen and thymus. In addition students will perform assays to determine protein concentration, and solidify their skills in light and fluorescence microscopy. Finally, the student will be exposed to cellular immunology, including differential leukocyte counts, mammalian histology and immunohistopathology, identification and enumeration of mouse and human leukocytes and Flow Cytometric analysis of lymphocyte subpopulations.  We will take a field trip to Baystate Medical Center to visit the transfusion medicine and immunology departments where students will get the opportunity to observe many of the protocols they learned in class in use within a clinical setting and have ample opportunity to interact with the director of transfusion medicine and a transfusion medicine education specialist. Students will be evaluated via quizzes, class participation, competence at the lab bench, demonstrated independence and critical thinking along with lab reports written in the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals format with an IMRAD structure, ready to be published.

Semester(s) offered: 
Course in immunology, e.g., MICROBIO 320 or ANIMLSCI 472