Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2020/2021

Learning outcomes

At the end of the classes, the student will know about the cellular and molecular mechanisms that regulate the functioning of the immune system, as well as the present-day, state-of-the-art possibilities to deploy immune activities for therapeutic purposes. In particular, the student will know about: i) the genetic strategies that allow the diversification of the immune responses to antigens; ii) the generation and use of monoclonal antibodies; iii) immunosuppression strategies; iv) generation of chimeric antigen receptors.

Course contents

Course contents

  • Receptors of the natural Immunity: TLR, NLR and inflammasomes, cGAS-Sting, RLR, etc. Connection with inflammation. PAMP and DAMP. Regional Immunity. Interactions between immune cells and gut microbiota.
  • Organization of genetic loci for the receptors of NK cells. Memory of the innate immunity: trained immunity.
  • Organization of genetic loci for antibodies and TCR. Generation of receptor repertoire: mechanisms of combinatorial differentiation (somatic recombination), and junctional differentiation.
  • Molecular mechanisms of the isotypic shift; affinity increase and somatic hypermutation.
  • Synthesis of monoclonal antibodies. Nomenclature CD. Immunophenotypization with flow cytometry and other methods. Cell sorting and single-cell analysis.
  • Applications of monoclonal antibodies in biomedical research, diagnostics and clinic practice.
  • Mechanisms of gene regulation: DNA methylation. Experimental data of methylation changes with age.
  • Organization of MHC genetic locus. Polymorphism of MHC genes. Genes for MHC I, II and III. HLA genotyping. Antigen presentation on MHC class I or II molecules. MHC in diagnostics: the tetramers. Macroautophagy and chaperon-mediated autophagy: importance for the immune responses.
  • Tolerance breakdown. Autoimmunity. Immunopathology: classification of hypersensitivities. Allergies: features and pathogeneic mechanisms; Type II, III and IV hypersensitivities.
  • Congenital and acquired immunodeficiencies. SCID and other immunodeficiencies of lymphocyte maturation. Innate immunity Immunodeficiencies. Acquired Immunodeficiencies due to immunosuppression, chemotherapy, malnutrition, viral infections.
  • Cancer Immunology: immunological features of tumors. Cancer Antigens. Cancer Immunotherapy: monoclonal Abs. Anti-PD-1 and PD-L1; CAR-T cells: generation and use.
  • Aging of the immune system: immunosenescence and inflammaging. Cell senescence and SASP: the role in human aging and age-related diseases. Inflammaging and the special case of Covid-19.


Abbas, Lichtman, Pillai: Cellular and molecular immunology, 2018 (ninth edition), Elsevier.

Kenneth Murphy & Casey Weaver: Janeway's Immunobiology, 2017 (9th Edition), Garland Science.

Teaching methods

Frontal lessons with ppt slides unless otherwise stated by current provisions. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, students are allowed to attend the classes online with the TEAMS platform.

Assessment methods

Oral examination. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the exams are given online with the Microsoft Teams platform in oral form until new provisions. Students must register as usual in Almaesami, and they will receive an e-mail with the link and timetable of the exam session.

Teaching tools

Ppt files available at IOL platform for UNIBO students.

Office hours

See the website of Stefano Salvioli