He only taught the last 1/3 of the course when I took him. I never went to his lecture so I don't even know how he looks or sounds like, but the material he chose to go over was interesting. However, there are a lot of grammatical and spelling errors in his reader. His test questions on the final was surprisingly easy (I heard that he did that because of student complaints from last year). If you memorize all the material in the online powerpoint slides and the reader, and fairly know what is going on, you will get most of the points.
Winter 2019 - This quarter (Winter 2019) the course was co-taught by Dr. Dasgupta and Dr. Oliver Fregoso. I will talk about this toward the end of the review. TL;DR the class is tough but amazing, you will not regret taking it. This is a great course. I learned information about prevalent viruses that will stick with me for the rest of my life. This is not the reason I chose to take the course initially, though. As a biochem major I thoroughly searched for an easy elective and thought I came across the jackpot when I found MIMG 102, but let me tell you, this class is not an easy A (for the average student). There are students who will say the class is easy, but those are the select few who are molecular biology prodigies, work in labs, or who have taken lots of MIMG/MCDB courses. The reason the course poses a challenge is because Dr. Dasgupta is a true EXPERT in this field, and therefore writes his exams to challenge your knowledge. He won't ask you "explain the process of _______". Instead he will ask you "I have a virus that does not replicate, here is my evidence ______, pose 4 mutations that would lead to this result." Now, when he asks a question like this, he is looking for 4 SPECIFIC mutations of mechanisms or proteins that he covered in class, but recalling and connecting these will require you to know the material inside-out. You cannot come up with some reasonable explanation (that isn't one of the answers he wants) because that will yield you 0 credit for that mutation. So, this is mainly the reason the course is difficult for the average student, because you have to study the material with extreme attention to detail. Now, how is Dr. Dasgupta? And who is Dr. Fregoso? Well, Dr. Dasgupta is amazing. He is highly achieved in the field of virology, yet he is humble and kind to every student. He gave us life advice sometimes, like important principles of kindness, which I really liked. He is wise and deeply knowledgeable. Our quarter was special because after the second midterm, we had a new teacher come and finish the course, Dr Fregoso. He was also a great professor, and sort of "modernized" the slides and materials which was cool (some of Dr. Dasgupta's figures in slides could have been 20+ years old). Dr. Fregoso wrote most of the final, and the questions were generally more straightforward, so if you knew the material you didn't have to think too critically. You're probably interested in taking the class, so I want to tell you about the grade breakdown, curve, and how you can earn an A+ in the course (if I can do it, you definitely can). The key to my success was just giving the course tons of time. I went to every single discussion and office hour my TA had, and she was absolutely amazing. She spent countless hours answering questions and clarifying concepts. I can't explain how helpful she was. All of the TA's for that course are hand-picked by Dr. Dasgupta and he only chooses the best, so you have to utilize your TA heavily. I studied the material by listening to the audiocast with the slides open, while taking notes in a notebook, after each lecture. As the exam approached, I memorized + understood EVERYTHING that was covered. If you leave anything out, it may be on the exam. I also went to his office hours the week of the exam, which was absolutely packed (40+ people there) because he drops hints about the exam. The grade breakdown is as follows: Midterm 1: 100 pts (avg. 65/100) (5% of class scored above 90%) Midterm 2: 100 pts (avg. 75/100) (17% of class scored above 90%) Final Exam: 150 pts (avg. 112/150) (20% of class scored above 90%) Why were the averages not higher? I think it was because people underestimated the exams. So if you take the course, don't take it lightly. The "curve" was never really discussed, but it was generous. He mentioned that he gives top 35% of the class A-/A/A+. The top 25% get A/A+ usually. I had a 90% overall grade in the course and got an A+ which was rather surprising, so the curve will definitely boost you up. I think I covered the main points, but there is so much more I could talk about. I'll leave all that for you to experience. It was ultimately a really enjoyable time that I will always remember. Good luck!
Horrible. One of the most arrogant teachers I have come accross in my 4 years at UCLA. He mentioned how he taught med students on a daily basis, like we are supposed to be impressed with his teaching prowess. Dagusputa was great and he ACTUALLY cared about what we learning. Wish I could say the same about Feldman. Tests were hard, even if you studied well. Unfortunately, theres no way to avoid this guy.
Winter 2020 - Dr. Li is one of the sweetest MIMG professors I’ve ever had teaching the most fascinating course I’ve ever taken. You can tell she is very passionate about viruses and giving her students the help they need. In winter 2020, the structure of the class was such that Dr. Dasgupta taught about bacteriophages and Poliovirus, Dr. Li taught about RNA viruses, and Dr. Fregoso (also an amazing professor) taught about human DNA viruses. The grading was such that the top 25% (at least) would have some kind of A. Starting in Winter 2021, only Dr. Li and Dr. Fregoso will be teaching the class. I heard that in future quarters, the grading will be a straight scale (which may or may not be as forgiving as the tests are still quite hard, but doable if you study equally as hard). Not confirmed, just what I heard. Also they’re doing an entire course restructuring than what I experienced, but the way Dr. Li explained the restructured course makes a lot of sense and sounds like the students will learn many concepts and ideas earlier on which will make learning in general easier. But overall, the content of the course is unmatched to any MIMG course I’ve ever taken. The class may be challenging, but learning all about viruses made it always fun and interesting. But more on Dr. Li, she is just fantastic. Highly recommend going to her office hours. She learns her students names there and clarifies class material (lots of things might not make sense the first go-around e.g. coronaviruses and measles were tough ones for me). She explains things much like an LA would, which I really like because it promotes long-term learning & understanding. She also loves talking about life in general - she’ll pick up any conversation with you and you really feel a lot of MIMG care, something that may feel absent in large lecture halls or from colder professors. She has so much experience in virology/innate immunity/research so ask her about that for a very fascinating conversation about what’s new in those fields. Anyways I don’t want to drone on, but Dr. Li was truly the best MIMG professor I’ve ever had. The care, the knowledge, the teaching, EVERYTHING. It made MIMG 102 my favorite MIMG class I’ve ever taken, so I highly recommend taking it to anyone reading this. Side note: Emily Yang was my TA. She’s phenomenal. She goes above and beyond what any TA should do for their students, but it made a huge difference for me when I took the course. Definitely the best TA I’ve ever had imo. Take Emily if you can, and go to her OH too!