BSc Microbiology / Course details

Year of entry: 2019

Course unit details:
Current Topics in Microbiology (E)

Unit code BIOL31351
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by School of Biological Sciences
Available as a free choice unit? No

Overview

You will study  some of the most recent advances in Microbiology including the role of horizontal gene transfer in the evolution of bacterial pathogens and the spread of drug resistance, and the importance of biofilm formation in pathogenesis and antibiotic resistance.

Pre/co-requisites

Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Prokaryotic Microbiology BIOL21181 Pre-Requisite Recommended

Aims

To provide students with an insight into some of the most recent advances in Microbiology.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course students will have an appreciation of;

  • The molecular mechanisms used by microorganisms to detect and respond to
    environmental change.
  • The role of quorum sensing in bacterial pathogenesis.
  • The importance of biofilm formation in pathogenesis and antibiotic resistance
  • The role of horizontal gene transfer in the evolution of bacterial pathogens and the spread of drug resistance.
  • The mechanisms used by microorganisms to protect themselves from foreign DNA
  • The use of modern genomic techniques to advance our understanding of bacteria and bacterial ecosystems.

Syllabus

  • Environmental sensing:
    • How bacterial pathogens adapt to life in the host;
  • Bacterial cell to cell communication and virulence
  • Inter-kingdom quorum sensing: bacterial conversations with the host
  • Biofilms and bacterial virulence
  • Biofilms and antibiotic resistance - the problem with persisters
  • Horizontal gene transfer and the evolution of multi drug resistant bacteria
  • Horizontal gene transfer and the evolution of bacterial pathogens
  • CRISPRS - A bacterial immune response to foreign DNA
  • Sequencing microbial genomes, past present and future
  • Synthetic bacterial genomes

Employability skills

Innovation/creativity
Opportunity to deliver talks with a creative use of powerpoint and verbal communication.
Oral communication
Students will present a 6 minute talk on a suggested topic related to the course.
Research
Students will have to research the topic and extract the most pertinent details for their 6 minute talk.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 90%
Oral assessment/presentation 10%

An 8 minute talk on a Current Microbiology topic (10%);

2 hour examination (90%)

Feedback methods

Two, optional multiple choice quizzes will be available on Blackboard towards the middle and end of the course. These will provide an opportunity for students to assess their understanding of the learning objectives of the course.

Recommended reading

Primary papers and review articles selected by Dr High

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 1
Lectures 18
Independent study hours
Independent study 81

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Nicola High Unit coordinator

Return to course details