Responding to pathogens and generating immunity – At GTAC


COVID-19 Notice: Please note that this program may require modifications to enhance physical distancing and infection control standards for delivery in 2021. GTAC continues to monitor the evolving COVID safety advice from the Department of Education and Training to ensure our programs adhere to School Operations Guidelines. GTAC will communicate with schools booked into this program to provide relevant program updates in a timely manner. 


Full day program


A student using an ELISA to assess primary and secondary immune responses

A student using an ELISA to assess primary and secondary immune responses

Students perform diagnostic tests to identify a bacterium causing an outbreak of mastitis in a dairy herd. They examine antibiotic sensitivity tests to determine the ideal treatment for the infection and use spectrophotometers to determine the bacteriostatic and bacteriocidal concentrations of antibiotic for treating this infection. Students model the specific humoral immune response demonstrating how immunity to extracellular pathogens is acquired. They perform an ELISA and apply their knowledge of acquired immunity to trace the primary and secondary immune response to tetanus vaccine in a herd of cattle.


This program has been developed in collaboration with Zoetis, Parkville.

Assessment Note: This program can serve as context for assessment requirements within Unit 3, Outcome 2: outline human responses to invading pathogens and distinguish between the different ways that immunity may be acquired. It can also be used to demonstrate examples of Biological knowledge and society (Unit 4, AOS2) as students investigate strategies that deal with the emergence of new diseases in a globally connected world, including the distinction between epidemics and pandemics, the use of scientific knowledge to identify a pathogen, and the types of treatments; and investigating the mode of action of antibiotics and their biological effectiveness.


Level - Unit 3 VCE Biology

Venue - at GTAC in Parkville

Timing – Full day program: runs 9:30am – 2:45pm with a one hour lunch break

Approximate dates – Term 2: 21st April - 28th May 2021


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Program designers - Jacinta Duncan, Chris Szwed & Dr Nicole Webster