It is the first week in May, which means that the spring semester has just ended at Columbia University, andÂ my annual virology course is over.
Each year I teach an introductory undergraduate virology course thatÂ is organized around basic principles, including how virus particlesÂ are built, how they replicate, how they cause disease, and how to prevent infections. Some feel that it’s best to teach virology by virus: a lecture on influenza, herpesvirus, HIV, and on and on. But this approach is all wrong: you can’t learn virology by listening toÂ lectures on a dozen different viruses. In the end all you will have is a list of facts but you won’t understand virology.
I record every one of my 26 introductory lectures as a videocast, and these are available on theÂ course website,Â or onÂ YouTube. If you have listened to my lectures before, you might be wondering what is new. I change about 10% of each lecture every year, updating the information and adding new figures. This year I’ve also added two new lectures, on on Ebolavirus and one on viral gene therapy.
Once you have taken my introductory course, then you will be ready for an advanced course on Viruses. A course in which we go into great detail on the replication, pathogenesis, and control of individual viruses. I am working on such a course and when it’s ready I’ll share it with everyone.
I want to beÂ Earthâ€™s virology professor, and this is my introductory virology course for the planet.