Medical Laboratory Diagnosis & Pathology Of Biological Threat Agents

Course Number: 
Graduate Education
Quarter Hours: 
3-4 Quarter Hours
Course Description: 
This course will address pathobiological, biochemical, molecular, and medical laboratory features of living agents or organic products of potential use in warfare, terrorism. or criminal activities. Students will gain an appreciation of the scope of biological agents and their potential for deployments against humans, animals, and plants. the clinicopathologic presentation of biological toxins and chemical agents will be compared and contrasted. Environmental issues that make certain agents special threats in particular geographic locations will be discussed. Lectures will detail mechanisms involved in the spread of microbial organisms of toxins, routes of host entry, the pathophysiology of host reactions, and the specific cellular, biochemical, and molecular pathology in target organs. Laboratory diagnosis and forensic investigation also will be emphasized. Attention will be drawn to relevant aspects of prophylaxis and therapeutics. Students will be taught to distinguish the properties of agents or organic products that represent dangers as strategic and tactical weapons of warfare from those with properties more suited to use in bioterrorism or crime. Instruction will include case studies and laboratory sessions to explore relevant tissue findings and agent detection techniques. Sessions will be designed to allow for student participation in case analyses. Means for rapid and accurate clinicopathologic diagnosis will be emphasized. Throughout this course, students will be informed of current efforts to prevent, contain or counter the terrorist and criminal uses of biological weapons. This will include issues of decontamination, detection of arsenals, and verification of weapon destruction. Although many specific strategies are classified, students can be familiarized with some of the resources available to the military in preparing operations for a threat environment.