Faculty of Science

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2012 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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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, or view unit timetables.

FacultyFaculty of Science
OfferedClayton First semester 2012 (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: Basic immunology: The body's defence system, introduces students to the fundamental concepts of the immune system. It describes the structure of the immune system and how it can develop specificity and diversity for combating microbes and pathogens. Key concepts surrounding the function of the immune system in how it communicates and makes decisions when generating specific immune responses will be learnt. IMM2011 is designed to give students a basic but fundamental knowledge of the immune system useful to many areas of biomedical science. It can lead into further studies in second semester (IMM2022) and more advanced studies at level three and beyond. Together with formal lectures and tutorials, practical classes reinforce key concepts that students have been introduced. 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 demonstrated knowledge and understanding of the development, structure and function of the immune system as a defence mechanism against pathogens. Students will learn practical skills to test specific immune responses and also develop communication skills through written and oral exercises. Detailed learning objectives include:

  • Defining the key structural and cellular components of the immune system
  • Describing and discussing how the immune system generates specificity, diversity and self-tolerance
  • Describing and discussing the key cellular and molecular interactions involved in the innate and adaptive arms of the immune system
  • Performing key practical tasks in a laboratory environment
  • Preparing and submitting tutorial and laboratory based assessment tasks or reports
  • Working in a team environment to research, prepare and deliver an oral presentation.


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.