Colgate University

First-Year Course Offerings — Fall 2020

FSEM 126   Outbreak:Histor Infct/COVID19
RestrictionsNo 2023 2022 2021 Instr perm req during Drop/Add
Core AreaScientific Perspectives

Faculty Profile for Professor Holm

Outbreak! The Scientific and Historic Context of COVID-19

Outbreaks of infectious disease are an inevitable component of human existence. Yet despite incredible advances in the scientific and medical understanding of pathogens, the experiences of this year have demonstrated that these advances don’t always translate into an enhanced capacity to curtail their spread or mitigate their effects. Students explore basic principles of infectious disease epidemiology, using three historical epidemics (the “Black Death,” cholera in 1850’s London, and the 1918 “Spanish flu”) and COVID-19 as a framework. Through lecture, discussion, and in-class exercises, students explore different methodologies of epidemiologic data collection, and how the data can be used to model infectious disease outbreaks. Students also discuss the microbiologic, social, economic, and environmental factors that contribute to disease emergence, pathogenesis, and spread, and examine current and future responses to SARS-CoV-2 and other pathogens. Students may also participate in a service/community-based learning component in the realm of public health responses to COVID-19. Readings include sections from an introductory epidemiology textbook, as well as selections from accounts of historical outbreaks. Students who successfully complete this seminar will satisfy the Scientific Perspective core requirement.

Geoff Holm, Associate Professor of Biology, is a virologist with interests in pathologic mechanisms of viral disease. His research focus is on cellular responses to infection by mammalian reovirus, a tractable model for studies of viral replication and pathogenesis and innate immune responses.