Biology 612: Special Topics

The Genetics of the Immune System – Online Course

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Registration for Bio 612 for 2021 is closed.

Course Coordinator

 Leta M. Tribble, Ph.D. (864) 943-4170;

Course Description

Bio 612 is a hybrid course consisting of online didactic, multimedia instruction followed by an in-person interactive laboratory workshop. This year, Bio 612 will cover a focused study of the human immune system including components, models, normal and altered immunity, and specific disorders.

In the last decade, rapid advancements in the fields of biological, genetic, and medical research have enhanced our understanding of biological processes. These have made a large impact on our ability to diagnose and treat diseases, our livelihood and survival, and on the quality of our surrounding environment. Many of these advancements have gained public attention and have stimulated enormous controversy.

Prevailing issues such as genetic engineering, stem cells, drug and vaccine development, AIDS, Bird Flu, Swine Flu, the Ebola and Zika viruses, and most recently the COVID-19 virus, are issues that require all of us to have at least a minimal level of understanding of the underlying mechanisms in order to be well informed. These are some of the issues that confront us and decisions regarding these and other similar topics will have a major impact on our lives in the decades ahead.


This graded course carries 3 graduate credit hours which may be applied to teacher re-certification or to a graduate program for South Carolina teachers. Out-of-state teachers must satisfy out-of-state fees to receive graduate hours.

Course Objectives

Bio 612: Genetics of the Immune System will introduce participants to:
  • The make-up of the human immune system
  • The importance of cell surfaces
  • Abnormal immunity
  • The natural biology of the COVID-19 virus including transmission, responses, differing expressions of infection, testing approaches, vaccine development, and mechanisms of action
  • Social issues regarding infections, disease, and health disparities


Participation in a two-day laboratory workshop is required. Participants can choose between two dates and locations. COVID protocols will be followed as necessary.
  • June 21-22 – Greenwood Genetic Center – Greenwood, SC
  • June 24-25 – Trident Technical College – North Charleston, SC*

*If the N. Charleston location becomes unavailable due to COVID, the second workshop will be also held in Greenwood.

Course Requirements

Bio 612 is a graded, graduate-level course requiring:
  • Completion of online assignments by June 24, 2021
  • Participation in group discussions
  • Completion of the hands-on laboratory workshop


Course materials (articles, videos, and didactic lectures) will be available via Lander University’s Blackboard system beginning May 18. Access to Blackboard and registration for workshop dates will be available after completing course registration.


Registrations are invited from instructors at the high school and undergraduate levels. The level of instruction assumes the applicants have some biology and human genetics training.

Three graduate credit hours will be offered to SC teachers through the Lander University Department of Biological Sciences. Teachers who have completed BIO 612 courses covering other topics can also receive credit for this year’s course.
Register online here or by mailing the form included in the brochure to GGC. The registration deadline is May 3, 2021.

The course fee of $250 covers graduate credit hours, course text, all lab materials, and lunch during the workshop. A non-refundable $50 deposit is required with registration.

Lucy's Story

When our daughter Lucy had a metabolic crisis at 7 days old, we were shocked and devastated to find out that she was born with a rare genetic disorder (MSUD). Her newborn screening results did not make it back in time to prevent the crisis, and no one at our local hospital was familiar with the disease. They did not know how to treat her. Calls were made to Greenwood Genetic Center to confirm her diagnosis and guide her care. Dr. Champaigne and Ami...

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