Introduction: This module is one of three developed for second-year biomedical science MS and PhD students enrolled in a semester-long immunology graduate course titled Principles in Immunology. This material is also appropriate for basic science courses for medical and dental students and/or for review of immunology by residents and fellows. Topics covered by the remaining modules include basic concepts of immunology and innate immunity and recognition of antigen. Methods: This module uses a team-based learning format (TBL) to help learners understand the following immunological principles and how to apply them in experimental settings: the molecular mechanisms by which diverse antigen receptors are created in developing B- and T-lymphocytes, differences between immunoglobulin and T-cell receptor (TCR) structure and function, the genomic organization of immunoglobulin, TCR and major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes, and pathways by antigen presenting cells process and present antigenic peptides via MHC molecules. Students arrive to class having read preassigned readings. They then complete an individual readiness assurance test, before completing the same test in groups. Students then remain in these groups while they complete a series of group application exercises. Results: Student satisfaction with TBL is very high as assessed by course evaluations over the past 3 years. Students say that TBL helps them keep up with material and helps them prepare for exams. Student performance on high-stakes exams reveals modest improvements in overall scores (manuscript in preparation). Student performance in a graduate level immunology course did not drop after implementation of TBL, which involved replacing nine of 42 lectures throughout the semester with TBL sessions. Graduate students enjoy TBL and learning appears to be enhanced. Discussion: Originally developed for second-year biomedical science MS and PhD students enrolled in a semester-long immunology graduate course, this material is also appropriate for basic science courses for medical and dental students and/or for review of immunology by residents and fellows.
- Evaluate an immunology experimental design related to antibody and T-cell receptor diversity or antigen processing and presentation, demonstrating the ability to: identify or provide examples of appropriate controls, justify the use of specific methods, and assess whether or not a given method provides a desired measure.
- Interpret data provided for a given experimental protocol, (draw conclusions based on the data; recognize results that may not fit current understandings and discuss results in the context of current concepts of immunology).
- Predict experimental results given an experimental protocol and relevant background information (decide between alternative experimental outcomes based on current immunology concepts and justify predicted results in the context of established immunology concepts).
- To be able to design an experiment to test a hypothesis (identify required reagents, cell lines, animal strains, etc., propose appropriate assays to measure experimental outcomes, organize a sequence of experiments, and justify the proposed design in the context of current immunology concepts).
This is an open-access publication distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike license.