MSci Biomedical Sciences

Year of entry: 2021

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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


You will study some of the most recent advances in Microbiology including in the areas of evolutionary microbiology, antimicrobial resistance, microbial pathogenesis, synthetic/systems biology, microbiomes, CRISPR-Cas, and microbial genomics.


Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Fundamentals of Bacteriology BIOL21181 Pre-Requisite Recommended


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;

  • Evolutionary microbiology
  • Antimicrobial resistance
  • Mechanisms of microbial pathogenesis
  • Genetic engineering of microbes for synthetic/systems biology applications
  • Microbiome ecology and its effects on health and disease
  • Horizontal gene transfer and genome evolution


The syllabus will be based around 5 main themes; evolutionary microbiology,  antimicrobial resistance, microbial pathogenesis, genetic engineering for synthetic/systems biology applications, microbiomes, and microbial genomics.

Employability skills

Opportunity to deliver talks with a creative use of visual aids and verbal communication.
Oral communication
Students will record a 5 minute video on a suggested topic related to the course.
Students will be taught from recent research articles and reviews and will have to research the topic and extract the most pertinent details for their 5 minute talk and for the written assessment.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 10%
Written exam 80%
Oral assessment/presentation 10%

Written assignment (80%):

To complete two written (1,000 word plus a figure) ‘News & Views’ style assignments (open book) on subjects covered in the lectures (40% each)

Abstract (10%):

To write a 250 word ‘Nature-style’ structured abstract for a paper related to the course content (10%)

Oral assessment/presentation (10%):

Record a 5 minute video on a Current Microbiology topic

Feedback methods

Individual feedback will be given on the 5 min recorded talk

Written individual feedback will be provided for the abstract during the course.

Written individual feedback will be provided for the ‘News & Views’ style assignments at the end of the course.

Recommended reading

Primary papers and review articles selected by lecturers teaching on the unit

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment practical exam 1
Assessment written exam 4
Lectures 18
Independent study hours
Independent study 77

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Michael Brockhurst Unit coordinator

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