Infectious Disease Detectives (2 week basic science selective)

In much of the world, infection remains the leading cause of disease and death. While medicine has made great strides in the diagnosis and treatment of infection, new and deadly pathogens continue to emerge, and antibiotic resistance continues to grow. No matter what a physician’s specialty, understanding principals of infectious disease manifestations, diagnosis and treatment are key. In this basic science selective, future physicians will have the opportunity to refresh their understanding of the fundamentals of acute and chronic inflammatory responses, identify organisms commonly causing infectious disease in immunocompetent vs. compromised patients, and review sequelae of dysregulation of the normal human microbiome. Students will deepen their ability to distinguish between normal anatomy/histology and that found in cases of infectious disease. They will also engage in multiple practical learning activities such as culturing their own oral flora, touring the microbiology laboratory, gaining familiarity with the pros/cons of various diagnostic modalities, and attending infectious disease/microbiology correlation conferences in an attempt to further their understanding of the importance of collaboration between the microbiology clinical laboratory and treating physicians.

The Infectious Disease Detectives course represents a collaboration between two pathology services, i.e. autopsy pathology and microbiology. Generally students will focus on autopsy-based content in the mornings and microbiology-based content in the afternoons. The course is intended to encourage students to integrate basic scientific knowledge and evidence into their clinical practice via an overall approach of a) reviewing basic science concepts of infection and the inflammatory responses b) applying these concepts via a series of hands-on activities c) reinforcing the clinical import of these concepts via facilitated discussion/didactics and on-line educational modules with “quiz yourself” questions.

Course Objectives:

  1. Identify characteristic gross/histologic features seen in various types of infectious disease
  2. Demonstrate understanding of the relative merits of various infectious disease diagnostic testing modalities
  3. Relate basic concepts of inflammation and mechanisms of infectious disease to potential clinical manifestations
  4. Understand the importance of collaboration between the pathology department and treating physicians in cases of infectious disease