Microbiology: a Medical Perspective


This is a Part 2 module taken by students with an interest in clinical microbiology. It is taught jointly between our own staff and specialists invited from a nearby hospital and the HPA at Porton Down. The primary focus is on bacteria, viruses and fungi that cause problems in the UK and the antimicrobial agents used to treat them. There is a strong practical emphasis and students enjoy the challenge of tracking down the bacterial pathogen responsible for disease in a variety of 'mock' clinical samples (e.g. a 22 year old male with earache following swimming in a lake). Lectures and practicals are reinforced by visits to the Pathology lab in the Royal Berkshire Hospital and a group poster session.

Spring Term


MacIntyreSheila_largeDr Sheila MacIntyre is Programme advisor for the Microbiology degree programme and module convenor for Microbiology: A Medical Perspective. She obtained a BSc in Microbiology at the University of Glasgow and her PhD at the University of Victoria, BC, Canada, where she started her career studying toxins secreted by bacterial pathogens. She continued her training at Trinity College, Dublin and the Max-Planck-Institute for Biology in Germany before taking up a position as lecturer at Reading University. Her laboratory currently focuses on the cell surfaces of Gram negative bacteria and ways in which bacteria secrete toxins and other factors involved in disease. By understanding how bacteria, such as Yersinia pestis, assemble surface structures, we provide important information to improve vaccines and design new anti-bacterial agents.


NeumanBen_largeDr Ben Neuman is the Admissions Tutor for the Biological Sciences programme and a virologist. His research aims to uncover the mechanisms by which viruses are able to co-opt host cells and organisms. This mainly involves molecular-level investigation of nulcleic acid, enzymatic and structural properties of emerging pathogens related to human diseases including SARS (coronavirus), arenavirus haemorrhagic fevers (such as Argentine and Lassa) and influenza (orthomyxovirus). By studying the mechanisms by which viruses are able to invade host cells and transmit genetic information, it is hoped that it will be possible to design and test specific types of antiviral intervention.

Module convenor: Dr Sheila MacIntyre

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