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Medical Microbiology and Immunology

Medical microbiology, the large subset of microbiology that is applied to medicine, is a branch of medical science concerned with the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases. In addition, this field of science studies various clinical applications of microbes for the improvement of health. There are four kinds of microorganisms that cause infectious disease: bacteria, fungi, parasites and viruses, and one type of infectious protein called prion.

Immunology is a branch of biology that covers the study of immune systems in all organisms. Immunology charts, measures, and contextualizes the: physiological functioning of the immune system in states of both health and diseases; malfunctions of the immune system in immunological disorders (such as autoimmune diseases, hypersensitivities, immune deficiency, and transplant rejection); the physical, chemical and physiological characteristics of the components of the immune system in vitro, in situ, and in vivo.

Immunology has applications in numerous disciplines of medicine, particularly in the fields of organ transplantation, oncology, virology, bacteriology, parasitology, psychiatry, and dermatology. The term was coined by Russian biologist Ilya Ilyich Mechnikov who advanced studies on immunology and received the Nobel Prize for his work in 1908. He pinned small thorns into starfish larvae and noticed unusual cells surrounding the thorns. This was the active response of the body trying to maintain its integrity. It was Mechnikov who first observed the phenomenon of phagocytosis, in which the body defends itself against a foreign body.