• Length:
    4 Weeks
  • Effort:
    4–6 hours per week
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  • Course Type:
    Self-paced on your time


Basic Biology

About this course

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This course will provide fundamental knowledge in immunology as well as some advanced topics from cutting-edge research results, such as cancer immunotherapy and novel vaccine development.

Immunity is the body’s system of protection from attack by pathogens such as bacteria and viruses. Immunology has a long history, and researchers around the world faced with the “enemies of human life” have solved numerous immunological mysteries, and contributed to a paradigm shift in immunology. Nonetheless, it is as yet unknown how certain diseases like AIDS, influenza and allergies can be completely conquered. The latest immunological research is revealing that immunity is also strongly correlated with an increasing number of other diseases such as cancer, arteriosclerosis and diabetes. If we could fully understand the mechanism of immunity, we should be able to treat such diseases. We would like to introduce basic knowledge of immunology revealed by past research and share our insights on the latest findings with you for the future development of immunology.

During this course you will learn the mechanisms of the immune system and deepen your understanding of forefront immunology research and development of medical applications. We especially encourage young people who are interested in life-science and immunology to join this course, as it will assist consideration of immunology research as a career.

The part one of the course consists of 5 lectures of about 90 minutes each. The first week covers introductory subjects and specific topics follow from the second week.

What you'll learn

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  • Two major types of immune reactions. Complement system, Pathogen recognition, Production mechanism of various antibodies, Cells and molecules working in them.
  • Mechanisms of innate immunity, Names and functions of major molecules involved in innate immunity.
  • Involvement of adaptive immune system cells in autoimmune diseases and cancers.
  • Reaction mechanisms of vaccines.
  • Intestinal barrier functions, roles of commensal bacteria, functions of unique immune cells in the intestinal mucosa.
WEEK1:  Overview of Immunology
  • What is the immune system?
  • Players act in the immune system
  • How various types of immune cells work in the immune system?
WEEK2:  Innate Immunity
2-1:  Innate Immunity- Pathogen Recognition by Innate Immunity
  • Mechanism of innate immunity
  • Interaction between innate immunity and adaptive immunity
Pattern recognition receptors
2-2:  Innate Immunity - Disorder-specific M2 Macrophages
  • Functions of macrophages
  • Recent topics in the research for various types of M2 macrophages
2-3:  Innate Immunity - Understanding and Manipulation of the NLRP3-inflammasome
  • Colchicine inhibits activation of the NLRP3-inflammasome
  • Autophagy limits activation of the NLRP3-inflammasome
WEEK 3: Adaptive Immunity 1 - Control of Immune Responses by Regulatory T Cells
  • Identification of regulatory T (Treg) cells
  • FoxP3 is a Treg specific transcription factor, and it controls IL-2 production
  • Treg-targeting cancer immunotherapy
WEEK 4: Adaptive Immunity 2
4-1:  Adaptive Immunity 2 - Immune Regulatory Mechanisms through B Cell Axis
Anti-inflammatory functions by B cell
  • Regulatory function of plasmablasts to suppress Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis (EAE)
  • Essential signaling factors in B cells for IL-10 production
4-2:  Adaptive Immunity 2 - Vaccine & Immunological Memory
  • What is vaccine (vaccination)?
  • What is immunological memory?
  • What are the issues in the research for immunological memory?
WEEK 5: Mucosal Immunology
  • Barrier functions of epithelial cells
  • Intestinal environmental factors
  • Unique immune cells in the intestinal mucosa

Meet your instructors

​Masayuki Miyasaka
Guest Professor, Immunology Frontier Research Center
Osaka University
Shizuo Akira
Director of WPI Immunology Frontier Center
Osaka University
Shimon Sakaguchi
Specially Appointed Professor (full time), Immunology Frontier Research Center
Osaka University
Tomohiro Kurosaki
Specially Appointed Professor (full time), Immunology Frontier Research Center
Osaka University

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