Fundamental Immunology (INIM5001)


Immunology is the study of defence mechanisms that protect individuals against infections and cancers. Studies in immunology are leading to advances in clinical medicine, including understanding allergies, transplant rejection, cancer and autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and insulin-dependent diabetes, as well as the development of new vaccines. This unit of study will provide an understanding of the components and functions of the immune system at the molecular and cellular level, the mechanisms of pathological immune processes and immune system dysfunction, mechanisms of immune responses to microorganisms and immunological techniques used in clinical diagnostic and research laboratories. The unit components will be delivered so as to develop skills in problem-solving, evaluation of scientific literature, and oral and written communication. Lectures will provide an overview of the immune system and an update of fundamental facts. Problem/case-based scenarios together with invited guest/specialized lectures, hands-on practical work, literature research and group discussions ('tutorials') will provide in-depth analysis of particular chosen topics.

Our courses that offer this unit of study

Further unit of study information


2x1hr lectures/week and 1x4hr practical class and/or tutorials or seminars/week


Progressive assessment (50%) including written, practical, and oral based assessment tasks as well as 1x 2hr formal examination (50%).


Abul K Abbas, Andrew H Lichtman & Shiv Pillai. Basic Immunology: Functions and Disorders of the Immune System. 4th 5th Ed. 2016. Although this is the recommended text, other texts are equally sound. We suggest you discuss with the unit coordinator, A/Prof Scott Byrne, before making a textbook purchase.

Faculty/department permission required?


Unit of study rules

Assumed knowledge

Undergraduate immunology, undergraduate bacteriology and virology; basic concepts of epidemiology

Study this unit outside a degree

Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.