MEDSCI 708 : Advanced Immunology and Immunotherapy

Medical and Health Sciences

2023 Semester One (1233) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Explores recent advances in immunology including the genes, proteins and cell types involved in the innate and adaptive immune response, with a focus on how key components are integrated at a systems level to determine immune outcomes. Examines a range of inflammatory and immune mediated diseases, together with methods of immunotherapy, including the latest approaches to combat cancer and autoimmune disease.

Course Overview

This course is intended to give students insight into current topics of immunology over 12 sessions. Topics include the latest research and understandings for infection response, tumour immunology, autoimmune disease and immunotherapy. Content is refreshed each year to ensure the most recent developments are discussed and one session is dedicated to breaking news in the field of immunology. Material is delivered using a combination of interactive lectures, class discussion and seminar sessions. All teaching staff are also University of Auckland researchers working in the field of immunology. Specific topics are as follows:

1. Autoimmune disease, Dr Nikki Moreland

2. Tumour Immunology and Immunotherapy, Professor Rod Dunbar

3. T helper 17 cells, Dr Fiona Radcliff

4. Antigen Recognition in Adaptive and Innate Immunity, Dr Ries Langley 

5. Trained immunity, Dr Chris Hall

6. Breaking immunology news, Dr Nikki Moreland

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Course Contacts

Course Director: Nikki Moreland,

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Apply principles of immunology to an understanding of human disease (Capability 1.1, 1.2, 3.1 and 3.2)
  2. Explain and critically evaluate the immunological basis of human disease and therapy (Capability 2.1, 2.2, 4.1 and 4.2)
  3. Describe and critique immunology in the context of disease and treatment (Capability 2.1, 3.1, 5.1 and 5.2)
  4. Analyse and communicate the immunological basis of relevant current events (Capability 4.1, 4.2 and 6.2)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Presentation 15% Group & Individual Coursework
Essay 15% Individual Coursework
Assignments 15% Individual Coursework
Reflection 5% Peer Coursework
Final Exam 50% Individual Examination
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4
Final Exam

The assignment is a media piece written in the style of a blog post. The topic will be informed by a recent high-profile immunology finding and is linked with the breaking news topic.

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 2 hours of lectures per week. For the 12 teaching weeks, this totals to 24 hours. Since the course as a whole represents approximately 150 hours of study, that leaves a total of 126 hours (or 10.5 hours per week) across the entire semester for independent study, e.g. reading, reflection, preparing for assessments/exams, etc.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience & Campus Experience

Attendance is expected at scheduled activities including student seminars to participate in group discussions and receive credit for this component of the course.

Lectures will be available as recordings. Other learning activities including student seminars will not be available as recordings.

Attendance on campus maybe required for the exam.

The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Student Feedback

At the end of every semester students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback and respond with summaries and actions.

Your feedback helps teachers to improve the course and its delivery for future students.

Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the department and faculty staff-student consultative committees.

SET feedback highlighted that it was sometimes difficult to stay engaged over a 2-hour lecture, especially when learning was remote. A mid-lecture break will now be included in all sessions at the 1 hr mark (only some teaching staff did this in 2022). 

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.