Virology (VIRO3001)


Viruses are some of the simplest biological machinery known yet they are also the etiological agents for some of the most important human diseases. New technologies that have revolutionised the discovery of viruses are also revealing a hitherto unappreciated abundance and diversity in the ecosphere, and a wider role in human health and disease. Developing new gene technologies have enabled the use of viruses as therapeutic agents, in novel vaccine approaches, gene delivery and in the treatment of cancer. This unit of study is designed to introduce students who have a basic understanding of molecular biology to the rapidly evolving field of virology. Viral infection in plant and animal cells and bacteria is covered by an examination of virus structure, genomes, gene expression and replication. Building upon these foundations, this unit progresses to examine host-virus interactions, pathogenesis, cell injury, the immune response and the prevention and control of infection and outbreaks. The structure and replication of sub-viral agents: viroids and prions, and their role in disease are also covered. The practical component provides hands-on experience in current diagnostic and research techniques such as molecular biology, cell culture, serological techniques, immunofluorescence and immunoblot analyses and is designed to enhance the students' practical skills and complement the lecture series. In these practical sessions experience will be gained handling live, potentially pathogenic microbes. Tutorials cover a range of topical issues and provide a forum for students to develop their communication and critical thinking skills. The unit will be taught by the Discipline of Microbiology within the School of Molecular Bioscience with the involvement of the Discipline of Infectious Diseases and Immunology within the Sydney Medical School.

Our courses that offer this unit of study

Further unit of study information


26 x 1-hour lectures, 7 x 4-hour practical classes, 1 x 2-hour tutorial


Pre-class assessment for practical classes: (5 x 1%), continuous assessment for practical classes: (3 x 2%), project assessment for practical classes: (7%), presentation on virology-themed research literature: (7%), theory of practical exam: (15%) (30 minutes), theory exam (60%) (120 minutes).


Knipe and Howley. Fields Virology. 6th edition 2013. Available freely as an electronic resource from the University of Sydney library.

Faculty/department permission required?


Unit of study rules

Prerequisites and assumed knowledge

[(6 credit points of MBLG1XXX or MBLG2XXX) and (6 credit points of MICR2XXX or BCHM2XXX or BIOL2XXX or IMMU2XXX or PCOL2XXX or PHSI2XXX or GENE2XXX)] OR [(BMED2401 and BMED2404) and 6 additional credit points of BMED240X] OR [(GENE2002) and (MICR2024)]

Intermediate Microbiology



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.