Immunology is an integrative branch of the medical sciences that draws upon the more traditional disciplines of Molecular Biology, Microbiology, Pathology and Biochemistry. In essence, Immunology is the study of the physiological responses that result when foreign (i.e. non-self) materials are introduced into a vertebrate organism such as humans. Traditionally, the discipline has focused on the body’s response to infectious micro-organisms, with the purpose of developing effective vaccines. However, the scope of modern Immunology now encompasses all aspects of self vs. non-self recognition phenomena including organ transplantation, tumour immunology and autoimmune diseases. Recent major advances in our understanding of the cellular and molecular basis of the immune response promise to provide us with a new generation of prophylactic, therapeutic and diagnostic reagents of relevance to human and animal health.
The Department of Immunology in the Faculty of Medicine, in collaboration with Trinity College, coordinates specialist, major and minor programs in Immunology. In this program, you will be taught by research-active faculty. A recent international review ranked the Department of Immunology first in Canada and among the best in the world.
The emphasis of the specialist program is to provide students with a sound theoretical understanding of the cellular and molecular basis of non-self recognition, together with sufficient laboratory experience to enable the students to consider embarking on a career in the discipline. The major and minor programs offer students fundamental training in Immunology and gives them the opportunity to combine Immunology with another program in Life Sciences, Basic Sciences, or within the Arts.
Courses in this specialist program are drawn from offerings by the Department of Immunology, together with courses from other Departments, taught in some cases by members of the Department of Immunology. The following pages outline the courses that are involved in the programs as well as the undergraduate Research Opportunities that are available. In addition, there is list of our faculty members and a “one-line” description of the work they are pursuing in their research labs. Lastly, if you find that at some point you are interested in pursuing some research in Immunology at the graduate level, we have a brief description of the MSc and PhD programs that the Department of Immunology offers through the School of Graduate Studies for students who have obtained a BSc.
Immunologists may have careers as scientists in universities and other centres of learning and research, as well as in the biotechnology industries, diagnostic laboratories and various government agencies. As with the other Basic Medical Sciences, a degree in Immunology also provides a good background for a career in professions such as teaching or medicine.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about Immunology or the program:
Jasty Singh, PhD
Director, Immunology Program at Trinity College
Associate Chair, Undergraduate Studies, Department of Immunology, University of Toronto