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Project on Investigating an Infectious Disease: Objectives, Format, and Guidelines


Preferably, work on this paper in pairs, or individually if you don’t have a partner.
Infectious diseases are important in all of our lives. In this project, you will focus attention on a specific infectious disease with the goal of determining the underlying cause of the disease, what the microbe does to the human body, how we treat the disease, and how social, economic, and political factors affect our ability to deal with the disease. As you become an expert on one particular disease, the general microbiological concepts discussed throughout the course and encountered as you proceed through your careers should gain more relevance. 
1.Upon completion of this project, the successful student will demonstrate: 
i.A detailed understanding of the disease interaction between the human body and the pathogenic microbe assigned. 
ii.An ability to effectively communicate complex scientific information. 
iii.Effective personal time management, organization, and study skills. 
2.The specific learning objectives involve mastery of concepts presented during the course. They include demonstration of comprehension of the following: 
i.The history of our knowledge of the disease. 
ii.The causative agent of the disease. 
iii.The cellular (or acellular) anatomy of the pathogenic microbe. 
iv.The epidemiology of the disease. 
v.The human immune response elicited by the pathogenic microbe. 
vi.Drug treatments or other medical interventions used to combat the pathogenic microbe. 
vii.The sociological, economical, and political factors that influence our ability to deal with the disease. 
Project Format
i.You can choose any pathogenic microbe (bacteria, virus, prion, helminth, etc) that affects humans.  However, you must have your choice approved by the professor.
ii.You will perform a search of the literature (books, magazines, news media, scientific journals, internet) to learn about your assigned disease. 
Written Report
i.You will submit a written report that details all of the information about your disease. 
ii.The report must be typed, double-spaced, with 1 inch margins and 12-point font. 
iii.The written report must include the following items: 
1.RUNNING HEAD. Must be the microorganism or disease that you will be working on.
2.COVER SHEET. Must have a title with the name of the disease, your name, the date, and the course name (Biology 3610, Basic Microbiology). 
3.ABSTRACT. Must have summary of the whole paper in one page. The key words in the paper should be listed at the end of the abstract
4.TEXT/ PROJECT CONTENT (the main body of information, not including title page/literature citation page/any images or diagrams used) should be around ten pages. a. Must describe all aspects of the disease/organism that are itemized in the guideline. 
Essay Content 
Material presented in the text of your paper and citations are worth 130 points; an additional 20 points are for grammar, spelling, flow, and readability. As much as possible, the text should be written in your own words. Do not use direct quotes (you should paraphrase, then cite the source). Any information that is not common knowledge must be credited to the proper source within the body of the text immediately (in text citations). Plagiarism will result in a score of zero on the paper. In-text citations and your literature cited page are worth 10 points; these are all-or-none points. 
Use APA citation format. The Ohio State University and Cornell University websites have excellent citation guides for a variety of citation styles. 
Sources you cite in your paper should be scientifically appropriate and reputable. 
i.Government information from the USDA, FDA, CDC, etc. 
ii.Scientific Journals: Nature, Science, etc.  You can use to search journal articles and get content from their abstracts.
iii.Popular magazines that are known to be reliable: Scientific American, National Geographic, Time, Newsweek, etc. 
iv.Books and textbooks on biology, microbiology, etc. 
Sources to be suspicious of may include the following: 
v.Religiously, politically, and privately funded publications and websites. 
vi.Personal websites and blogs
vii.College and university pages that contain student work. 
viii.No Wikipedia or any Wikis! You may start here to get ideas of where to find primary sources of reputable information, but Wikipedia should not be used as a primary source. Always check the information on Wikipedia before using it, or go to the sources that are cited on the webpage.  
3. LITERATURE CITATION PAGE. A list of all sources cited within the text of your paper. 
1.This is where I can find the full citation for the things you cite within the text of your paper. 
2.You must use the same citation style for both the in-text citations found within the body of your paper and for the literature citation page at the end of your paper. 
3.You need to have at least 4 unique sources referenced in your report; at least two of these must be non-internet sources (journal articles that have a pdf copy posted online are not considered internet sources).
4.A complete literature citation page is worth 10 points. 

Specific Learning Objectives

Use these subject headings within your paper.  The following are suggestions for getting you started on your research; doing the bare minimum will NOT guarantee an A on this project; the more effort you put forth, the better the grade.  As long as you are concise and on topic, try to include as much detail as you can find.  Feel free to include a paragraph on anything interesting that you have researched, even if it is not included in the list below.  Some students also include images or diagrams, but please make sure you also cite the sources of these and properly refer to them in the essay.  Total points per section is shown below. 
1.Causative Agent:
i.What is the causative agent of the disease? Is it a bacterium, a virus, a prion, or a eukaryote? 
ii.If it is a bacterium, what are the characteristics of the cell? (Gram-reaction, cell shape and arrangement, metabolic capabilities, etc.). 
iii.If it is a virus, what are its characteristics? (DNA virus, positive-strand RNA virus, negative-strand RNA virus, or retrovirus? Enveloped or naked? How large is it?  Provirus formation? Are there any unique characteristics of its multiplication cycle?). 
iv.If it is a prion, what is a prion? Where in the body does it occur? What is the function of the normal-type protein? 
v.If it is a eukaryote, is it a fungus, a protozoan, a helminth, etc? Is it multicellular or unicellular? What is its life cycle? 

i.How long have we known about this disease? 
ii.Historically, how was this disease treated? 
iii.What is the history of vaccine development? 
iv.Describe the changes in our knowledge and attitudes toward this disease throughout history. 

i.Describe the prevalence and mode(s) of transmission of this disease. 
ii.Where (in the world) is the disease prevalent? 
iii.How many people are currently infected? 
iv.What is the rate of new infections? 
v.What are the rates of morbidity and mortality? 
vi.What is (are) the reservoir(s) of the pathogen? 

i.Describe the pathogenic effects on cells, tissues, and organ systems. 
ii.Where in the body (what tissues/organs/cells) does the pathogen affect? 
iii.What damage does the pathogen inflict? 
iv.How is this damage inflicted? (Is there direct mechanical damage? Is a toxin produced? Does the immune response cause damage?). 
v.What is the time sequence of the disease (length of incubation, prodrome, illness, decline, and convalescence)? 
vi.What are the major signs and symptoms of this disease? 

5.Immune Response: 
i.Describe the activity of our immune system against the pathogen. 
ii.What immunity is involved and how? – (Cell mediated immunity? Humoral mediated immunity? Innate Immunity? Acquired immunity?)
iii.How is the disease diagnosed? 

6.Treatment and Prognosis:
i.What types of medical treatments exist? Be specific on the list of medications.
ii.Describe how these treatments affect the progression of the disease. 
iii.Is this an antibiotic resistant strain? 
iv.Describe prophylactic measures that can be taken to limit the risk of infection. 
v.What is the prognosis with or without treatment?

7.Socio-politico-economic considerations: 
i.Describe any historic or present-day social, economic, or political issues that either help or hinder us in limiting the spread of the disease. 
ii.What is the cost of treatment? 
iii.Suggest policies and practices that can be employed to help with limiting the spread of the disease. 
iv.For each policy and practice, describe what will be needed (what we have to sacrifice) in order to properly implement the proposal.

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