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MSc Immunology of Infectious Diseases (pre-course info)

General welcome

We are delighted to welcome you to LSHTM and to the MSc Immunology of Infectious Diseases.

You have chosen an exciting, multi-cultural place of academic excellence to develop your career for the next 12 months and this programme will provide a sound basis for your future plans in research or infectious disease control.

During the year you will make a lot of new friends, not just with other MSc students but also PhD students and staff. We are a friendly and interactive bunch of people who look forward to supporting you in this next phase of your academic career. We hope to bring to you our excitement in trying to understand the intricate biology of immune system, the devious strategies of the pathogens that try to attack us and the real-life implementation of immunology, such as in vaccination, which has had such a dramatic effect on global public health.

Welcome Week

Welcome Week Timetable

The first week of term is given over to an introductory process involving registration and meetings with the Programme Director and teaching staff. There will be introductory sessions to explain the year in total and more specifically the Term 1 teaching plans and how to access the learning material.

You will also be allocated a personal tutor for the duration of the year. Tutorials are timetabled for every two weeks during Term 1, then as agreed in arrangement with your tutor for the rest of the year. You will be able to access your email account and get to know the Moodle, LSHTM's virtual learning environment, where almost all materials will be held. There will be some online recorded material on general advice in lab methods in the last day of Welcome Week - and this is just a gentle reminder of how labs work.

Term 1

We will start the immunology timetable on Monday after Welcome Week has finished - which is formally known as module 3120 Immunology of Infectious Diseases.

In summary, the lecture material is first provided to you online with time dedicated to reading and studying it embedded in the timetable, then each lecture is followed by live Q&A sessions a day or so later (to give you a bit of time to collate your questions/thoughts) with each lecturer to pick up any concerns and discuss the material in more detail. These sessions will be on Wednesday and Thursday mornings. Following the recent update on teaching restrictions in Keppel St due to COVID-19, for the first half of the Term 1 these sessions will be live online via Zoom - with our plan to deliver these face-to-face for the second half of the term, subject to confirmation. Laboratory classes will then occur on each of those afternoons - allowing you to study offsite for the first part of the week, then in Keppel St for those two days. Friday is devoted to further skills in statistics and molecular biology which most likely will be delivered online. You will note that the timetable is fairly full so by then you should be able to give your full attention to the MSc.

Preparing for the programme

It may be useful if you have limited prior knowledge of immunology to look through one of the major immunology text books but there is no essential requirement for this. If you are worried – don’t be – but if you are please contact gregory.bancroft@lshtm.ac.uk. We do start at the beginning with innate immunity, then antigen recognition and the immune system biology, immune organs, their architecture and cells. Although we progress rapidly, we do start at the beginning.

We do not recommend an individual book as each book has its strengths and weaknesses and it would be wrong to suggest the programme relies on a particular source. Immunology is fast-moving and even the core immunology course includes material where expert lecturers in particular areas will provide insights beyond the current text book material. The important thing is that within a week or so of starting lectures you should have access to a recent edition of one of the following:

- Janeway’s Immunobiology by K. Murphy
- Kuby Immunology by Owen et al.
- Cellular and Molecular Immunology by Abbas et al.
- Immunology by Male et al.
- Roitt’s Essential Immunology by Delves et al.

You will not need any other materials.

In terms of laboratory classes: Lab coats are provided by the appropriate laboratory and you will be given a book to keep which describes how research labs work and provides information on basic lab skills such as pipetting, reagent dilution calculations etc.

Timetable and programme materials

You will receive your Term 1 module 3120 timetable during Welcome Week and other materials at the start or shortly before each module. Rest assured that this is a full-time programme and there will not be much time off during the day and what you have is expected to be spent in private study.

Lectures will be provided as recorded Powerpoints with audio narration. During the Term, these materials  from each speaker usually go online only a few days before the lecture slot in your timetable so please don’t expect to see a lot of material for specific lectures too many weeks in advance. We try to update things as close to the time of presentation as possible.

Module and summer project choices

Everyone taking the MSc does the Immunology of Infectious Diseases core followed by Advanced Immunology modules.

As you will have gathered from reading about the MSc, the length of the project can vary considerably to suit your needs. Those who wish may pursue additional taught course modules (after completion of Advanced Immunology 1 & 2) and then do a laboratory project over the summer period. For these students, the decisions about modules are likely to be made at around the end of Term 1 and the project needs to be chosen by the start of February.

Some students may choose to do the extended project starting immediately after the end of Advanced Immunology. You should be aware that this is one of the earlier decisions you will need to make. We will discuss this more with you when you arrive but you will have time to discuss areas and potential projects with a variety of supervisors at least until towards the end of the core module.

Information for split-study students

Initially you will be doing the whole of the Term 1 core module so your timetable will be the same as everyone else. You will have until Christmas to finalise any arrangements for which components of the MSc you complete in which year, but as you will be aware this is not a part-time programme.

Programme handbook

MSc Immunology of Infectious Diseases Handbook 2021-22 (pdf)

Page last updated September 2021