Virology Course 2020

Virology – Biology 4310

Spring 2020

The complete 2019 virology course materials are available at

viral video

This Columbia University virology course is offered each year in the spring semester.


The recommended textbook is Principles of Virology. Vol I: Molecular Biology, Vol. II: Pathogenesis and Control (S.J. Flint et al., Third Edition, ASM Press 2015).

Other course resources

1. Students should read Prof. Racaniello’s virology blog for information relevant to the course.

2. Students should listen to the weekly podcast “This Week in Virology”, produced by Prof. Racaniello, for additional material about viruses relevant to the course. You can subscribe to TWiV at iTunes.

3. Lecture slides (pdf) will be posted at this website before each class.

4. Videocasts of all lectures (slides plus audio) will be posted at this website.

Lecture Schedule, Spring 2020

Date Topic Reading Slides Study Questions Video
1/22 Lecture 1: What is a virus? Flint Vol I Chp 1
€¢The evolving concept of virus
€¢Cell size and scale
pdf Word YouTube
1/27 Lecture 2: The infectious cycle Flint Vol I Chp 2
€¢Influenza virus growth in eggs
€¢The amazing cells of Henrietta Lacks
€¢Counting Viruses
€¢Viral RNA is not infectious virus
pdf Word YouTube
1/29 Lecture 3: Genomes and genetics Flint Vol I Chp 3
€¢The Baltimore scheme
pdf Word YouTube
2/3 Lecture 4: Structure Flint Vol I Chp 4
€¢Buckyball Viruses (YouTube)
€¢Virus images at ViperDB
pdf Word YouTube
2/5 Lecture 5: Attachment and entry Flint Vol I Chp 5
€¢A portal for RNA exit
€¢A human rhinovirus in chimpanzees
pdf Word YouTube
2/10 Lecture 6: RNA directed RNA synthesis Flint Vol I Chp 6
€¢Influenza viral RNA synthesis
pdf Word YouTube
2/12 Lecture 7: Transcription and RNA processing Flint Vol I Chp 8 through p277 Chp 10 through p364 pdf Word YouTube
2/17 Exam I
2/19 Lecture 8: Viral DNA replication Flint Vol I Chp 9
€¢No primer needed
pdf Word YouTube
2/24 Lecture 9: Reverse transcription and integration Flint Vol I Chp 7
€¢Museum pelts help date the Koala retrovirus
€¢A retrovirus makes chicken eggshells blue
€¢Reverse transcription animation
€¢Retroviral influence on human embryonic development
pdf Word YouTube
2/26 Lecture 10: Assembly Flint Vol I Chapters 12 and 13
€¢Packaging of the segmented influenza virus genome
€¢What if influenza virus did not reassort?
pdf Word YouTube
3/2 Lecture 11: The Infected Cell Flint Vol I Chp 14
€¢Metabolic manipulations in virus-infected cells
€¢Rhinoviruses have a sweet tooth
pdf Word YouTube
3/4 Lecture 12: Infection basics Flint Vol II Chapters 1 and 2
€¢Transmission of influenza
Slow motion sneezing
Chikungunya an exotic virus on the move
€¢How mosquitoes spread viruses
pdf Word YouTube
3/9 Exam II
3/111 Lecture 13: Intrinsic and innate defenses Flint Vol II Chapter 3
€¢The inflammatory response
Natural antibody protects against viral infection
pdf Word YouTube
3/16 Spring Recess
3/18 Spring Recess
3/25 Lecture 14: Adaptive immunity Flint Vol II Chapter 4 pdf Word YouTube
3/25 Lecture 15: Mechanisms of pathogenesis Flint Vol II Chapter 5 pdf Word YouTube
3/30 Lecture 16: Acute infections Flint Vol II Chapter 5
€¢Acute viral infections
Chronology of an acute infection
pdf Word YouTube
4/1 Lecture 17: Persistent infections Flint Vol II Chapter 5 pdf Word YouTube
4/6 Lecture 18: Transformation and oncogenesis Flint Vol II Chapter 6 pdf Word YouTube
4/8 Lecture 19: Vaccines Flint Vol II Chapter 8
€¢Influenza virus-like particle vaccine
Poliovirus vaccine safety
pdf Word YouTube
4/8 Exam III
4/20 Lecture 20: Antivirals Flint Vol II Chapter 9
€¢A new drug for influenza
pdf Word YouTube
4/15 Lecture 21: Evolution Flint Vol II Chapter 10
€¢Virulence – a positive or negative trait for evolution?
€¢Increased fidelity reduces viral fitness
€¢Why do viruses cause disease?
pdf Word YouTube
4/20 Lecture 22: Emerging viruses Flint Vol II Chapter 11
€¢MERS-coronavirus in camels

€¢Nipah virus at 20
pdf Word YouTube
4/22 Lecture 23: Viral ecology pdf Word YouTube
4/27 Lecture 24: HIV and AIDS Flint Vol II Chapter 6
€¢The London Patient
€¢Interview with Beatrice Hahn
pdf Word YouTube
4/29 Lecture 25: Unusual infectious agents Flint Vol II Chapter 12
€¢Is chronic wasting disease a threat to humans?
€¢Prion contamination in the emergency room
pdf Word YouTube
5/4 Lecture 26: Therapeutic viruses Flint Vol I Chapter 3
€¢TWiV 350: Viral gene therapy with Katherine High
€¢Virus Watch: Cancer killing viruses
pdf Word YouTube
5/11 Exam IV
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