550.630.01 | AY 2013-2014 - 1st Term | 3 Credit(s)
MW 1:30:00 PM
  • Contact Information
    Barry Zirkin
    Terry Brown
  • Course Learning Objectives

    Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

    • Describe the molecular, cellular, and physiological bases of selected human diseases and conditions.
    • Describe the ecological principles that determine the distribution of infectious disease in human populations.
    • Explain the role of genetic determinants in human disease and disease susceptibility.
    • Describe biological principles that underlie the development of disease prevention, control, and management programs.
    • Describe biological principles that underlie risk assessment from potentially hazardous agents and behaviors.
  • Course Description

    Discusses the molecular, cellular, physiological, genetic and immunological determinants of human diseases and disease susceptibility, including infectious disease, nutritional deficiencies, reproductive and developmental anomalies, and effects of exposures to toxic environmental agents. Explores ecological principles that determine the distribution of infectious disease in human populations, and how principles of the human immune system provide the rationale for methods of immunization. Focuses how biological principles help to understand the development, treatment and prevention of disease, and to assess risk from potentially hazardous agents and behaviors.

    Additional Faculty Notes:

    Syllabus for Public Health Biology (550.630.01)
    First Term, Mondays and Wednesdays, 1:30-2:50

    Session 1 – Wednesday, September 4
    Introduction to the Course (B. Zirkin and T. Brown);  Introduction to Immunological, Molecular and Cellular Concepts (T. Brown)

    Session 2 – Monday, September 9
    Immune Responses to Infection and Vaccination (G. Ketner)

    Session 3 – Wednesday, September 11
    Application of Genomics to Infectious Disease (G. Ketner)

    Session 4 – Monday, September 16
    Pandemic Influenza (W. Wright)

    Session 5 – Wednesday, September 18
    Malaria - the Interplay between Parasite and Host (J. Bosch)

    Session 6 – Monday, September 23
    Nutrition, Obesity and Epigenetics (W. Wright)

    Session 7 – Wednesday, September 25
    Midterm exam

    Session 8 – Monday, September 30
    Nutrition and Health (K. West)

    Session 9 – Wednesday, October 2
    Aging and Neurodegenerative Diseases (J. Wang)

    Session 10 – Monday, October 7
    Hypogonadism, Infertility and Assisted Reproduction (B. Zirkin)

    Session 11 – Wednesday, October 9
    Prostate and Breast Cancer (T. Brown)

    Session 12 – Monday, October 14
    Environment, Development and Disease Susceptibility (J. Yager)

    Session 13 – Wednesday, October 16
    The Skin as a Portal: More than Meets the Eye (P. Coulombe)

    Session 14 – Monday, October 21
    Biology and Application of Stem Cells (B. Zirkin)

    Session 15 – Wednesday, October 23
    Final Exam

  • Intended Audience
    MPH, MHS, and DrPH students; is appropriate for students who have taken a modern, college-level biology course. Students with more substantial biology backgrounds are also are welcome.
  • Methods of Assessment
    Students are evaluated by in-class midterm and final examinations. The information comes from class content, and so attendance is important.
  • Prerequisites
    A modern, college-level course in biology.
  • Course Schedule

    Please see the course Session for a full list of dates and items for this course.

  • Files from the Online Library
  • Academic Ethics Code

    Students enrolled in the Bloomberg School of Public Health of The Johns Hopkins University assume an obligation to conduct themselves in a manner appropriate to the University's mission as an institution of higher education. A student is obligated to refrain from acts which he or she knows, or under the circumstances has reason to know, impair the academic integrity of the University. Violations of academic integrity include, but are not limited to: cheating; plagiarism; knowingly furnishing false information to any agent of the University for inclusion in the academic record; violation of the rights and welfare of animal or human subjects in research; and misconduct as a member of either School or University committees or recognized groups or organizations.

  • Welcome Message

    This course is appropriate for MPH, MHS, and DrPH students who have taken a modern, college-level biology course, but also is designed to be informative for students with more extensive biology backgrounds. The course fulfills a core biology requirement of the MPH program.  The major focus of the course will be on how biological principles help to understand the development, treatment and prevention of disease, and disease susceptibility. There will be sessions devoted to molecular, immunological, ecological, environmental and nutritional principles as applied to disease treatment, prevention and susceptibilities, and on infectious disease, neurodegenerative disease, cancer, and reproduction.  


  • Disability Support Services
    If you are a student with a documented disability who requires an academic accommodation, please contact the Office of Student Life Services at 410-955-3034 or via email at