Welcome to the 10th grade Virus Portfolio homepage.


For this project you will investigate a virus that affects humans and create an online "virus portfolio" that educates others about this virus. You can work by yourself or with a partner. The main goal of this portfolio is to look at the virus and it's infection mechanisms from a molecular biology point of view, rather than a macro/public health view. For this reason, pay special attention to #6-10 below. Your online portfolio should be completed by noon on Friday 5/8.

The portfolio should contain the following:

  1. Your name (and your partner's name).
  2. The scientific and common name of the virus/disease.
  3. An image (microscopic photo and/or artist's rendition) of the virus itself (not a picture of someone infected with the virus).
  4. History/background information: When was is discovered? By who? Where? Are there any major past outbreaks? Where? Is this virus generally located in a specific geographic region? Also provide some statistics about infection numbers, mortality rates, etc.
  5. Symptoms in humans infected with the virus. Are there always symptoms or does the virus stay "dormant" for periods of time?
  6. *How is the virus transmitted? Can it pass from human to human? Are there other animals involved in its transmission? Can the virus infect other organisms? Do other organisms actually get sick, or are they just carriers?
  7. *Details about virus structure/composition. What kind of nucleic acids does it have? What is its coat/shell made of? What surface proteins does it have?
  8. *Details about infection. Which human cells does it infect? How does infection occur? Once the virus injects its DNA/RNA into the cell, what happens? What host cell organelles are involved? What host cell enzymes are involved?
  9. *How does the human body fight the virus?
  10. *How has the virus changed over time? Are there documented cases of it mutating? How does this occur? What specific changes were observed and how did this affect humans or other organisms? If no mutations have been directly observed, predict what might happen if the virus were to change in the future.
  11. How is this virus treated by medical professionals? Do we have a vaccination/immunization against this virus? How can infection be prevented?
  12. Sources: in addition to in-text hyperlinks, provide a list of all sources used.
  13. Be sure to make your portfolio visually appealing and easily read by the general public.


There are numerous reliable sources for the above information. As usual, wikipedia can be used for background information, but should not be used as a major source. Don't forget to check the bottom of every wikipedia page for links to possibly reliable sources. The Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization are great places to start your investigation.

A quick note on plagiarism: It's very easy to copy/paste information from a website into your virus portfolio. This shows me that you know how to copy/paste, not that you know anything about the virus you're studying. You should be able to read information about your virus and transform that information into your own words.

Possible viruses

common cold
yellow fever
avian (bird) flu
west nile virus