Everyday we hear about disease through personal interactions and media outlets. Whether it is cancer, Ebola virus, or the issues surrounding vaccination, we hear the term “disease.” But, what is a disease and how does it occur? In simple terms a disease can be defined as a disorder of structure or function of an organism that is not a direct result of physical injury. The manifestation of disease is a direct consequence of a disruption of function of a biological system at a molecular and cellular level.
In this area of concentration, students will have the opportunity to:
- explore the causes of diseases of animals (including humans) and plants,
- investigate the molecular mechanisms that lead to disease,
- study the immune responses that facilitate recovery and protection,
- examine the mechanism of action of disease therapies, and
- investigate the physiological and ecological factors that influence the frequency of disease occurrence.
In order to achieve proficiency in the concentration, students must integrate an understanding of molecular and cellular biology with microbiology and immunology as well as recognize the importance of interactions within populations and ecosystems.
Graduates of the Biology of Disease concentration will be well situated to pursue a wide range of careers in health-related professions, biological and medical research, lab-based quality control and diagnostics, public and global health, science policy, law and intellectual property, business, education, and science writing.