Hard as it is for an Immunology student to understand the cultural “opposition” to vaccines, wading though the public discussions on the topic does bring up an important point that IS relevant to graduate education.
This relates to our direct understanding of primary data. Scientific knowledge is typically proportional to the accuracy of the data we have. And data is only as good as the methods used to generate it and the rigor with which those methods were applied. So, while spending time on a cultural debate on vaccines is not very useful to your graduate education – understanding the primary data supporting the efficacy of vaccines is. In fact, with a PhD in Immunology, you should be able to followup your perfunctory “Of course, Vaccines work!” with a scholarly summary of the primary data & analysis which allows you to be confident about that statement. (PS. “‘coz my advisor said so“, does not typically count)
In this context, this years Graduate Vaccinology course – run by the Center for Vaccine Development here at UMDSOM takes on a special significance. It features some of the impressive expertise we have in-house, as well as invited external speakers. You can contact the course director Dr. Marcela Pasetti for more information. Here is the schedule :