Course Title: On Viruses and Vaccines
Dates: February 15th and 22nd, 2021
Time: 3:00-5:00PM with a 10 minute break.
Objectives: The student will leave understanding the structure and function of viruses and vaccines with the goals of being able to make better informed health care decisions and to be able to understand and interpret media claims and articles about the pandemic.
Course structure: The course will be given in 2 sessions, each 120 minutes long, covering the following topics:
· The characteristics and molecular structure of viruses
· The co-evolution of humans and viruses
· The structural and reproductive powers of DNA and RNA
· How viruses enter the body and cells and what they do once there. Are viruses alive?
· The mechanisms if immunity; antigens, antibodies and vaccines.
· Discussion of the “politics” of vaccines. The anti-vaxxer argument.
Requirements: The course is structured for students with limited or no scientific background who are intellectually curious about biology, viruses and vaccines. Students who have had high school biology and have forgotten everything are welcome. Scientific vocabulary used will be limited and simple. Out of class viewing of a few videos on biology and evolution will be optional. No homework will be required, and class discussion and questions encouraged.
Instructor: Richard Thiede is a resident of Oma, Wisconsin. He has a BS degree from Southern Methodist University and extensive post-graduate work in science, medicine and education at UWM, University of Colorado, University of Texas Southwest Medical School, Dartmouth College, University of Massachusetts and Northeastern University. His major field of study was molecular biology. He taught biology, chemistry and physics at SMU, Mount Hermon School and Greenfield High School (Greenfield, MA)