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Monash University

Monash University Handbook 2011 Undergraduate - Unit

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Science
OfferedClayton First semester 2011 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Associate Professor Frank Alderuccio and Dr Kim Murphy


The immune system is central to many aspects of health such as recovering from viral and bacterial infections, vaccination against common diseases, fighting cancers and accepting organ transplants. The immune system is also responsible for many common conditions such as allergy and autoimmune diseases including type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. IMM2011: Function of the immune system, introduces students to the fundamental concepts of the immune system. It describes the structure of the immune system, how it develops specificity and diversity and the mechanisms by which it distinguishes self from non-self. Also, communication and decisions associated with immune responses are described leading to the generation and function of antibodies and cell mediated immunity involved in fighting microbial infections. Finally the association of the immune system to other important health issues are introduced such as allergy, autoimmunity, cancer immunology, transplantation and immunodeficiencies. IMM2011 is designed to give students knowledge of the immune system important for many areas of biomedical science and as a lead into more advanced studies at level three and beyond. Together with formal lectures and tutorials, practical classes reinforce key concepts such as identifying components of the immune system and assaying immune responses to micro-organisms. In addition, flexible learning options including on-line material, audio-taped lectures, quizzes and interactive tutorials provide students with a wide variety of experiences and skill development.


On completion of this unit students will have a firm understanding of the structure and function of the immune system as a defence mechanism against microbial pathogens, but also its role in a range of immune mediated diseases in humans. Students will learn practical skills to test specific immune responses and also develop communication skills through written and oral exercises. Detailed objectives include:

  • defining the key structural and cellular components of the immune system
  • describing and discussing how the immune system generates specificity and diversity
  • describing the basic structural components of micro-organisms recognised by the immune system
  • describing and discussing the cellular and molecular interactions and regulation of immune responses to pathogens
  • describing the involvement of the immune system with a range of human diseases not associated with pathogens
  • testing for immune responses to micro-organisms
  • participating in the variety of teaching environments offered to strengthen learning.


Mid-semester multi-choice examination on theory and practical classes: 10%
Written theory examination: 60%
Practical/tutorial reports and participation: 30%

Chief examiner(s)

Associate Professor Frank Alderuccio

Contact hours

Three 1-hour lectures and one 3-hour practical or tutorial per week


BIO1022 or BMS1021 or BMS1062. Recommended: CHM1031 or VCE Chemistry.