BI1BD1-Introductory Microbiology

Module Provider: School of Biological Sciences
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites: This module is for Biomedical Sciences, Biological Sciences and Microbiology students.
Modules excluded: BI1S1 Introductory Microbiology or BI1P3 Introductory Microbiology (Pharmacy students only)
Module version for: 2014/5

Module Convenor: Dr Sheila MacIntyre


Summary module description:
This course aims to provide students on Microbiology, Biomedical Science, and Biological science programmes with an introduction to the broad compass of Microbiology - ways in which fundamental principles are put into practice and a range of elementary skills and techniques used in the study of micro-organisms.

This module aims to provide students on Microbiology, Biomedical Science, Biochemistry and Biological science programmes with an introduction to the broad compass of Microbiology, both theoretical and practical. Students will learn the fundamental biology of bacteria, viruses and fungi; what is required for their growth, the diverse environments where they grow, how some microbes cause serious infectious disease, while others are of benefit and central to industry. Students will also gain an understanding of methods used to control microbial contamination and the use of antibiotics and vaccines in preventing infectious disease. During practical sessions the aim is for students to put theory into practise and become proficient in a range of elementary skills and techniques used in the study of micro-organisms.

Note: This version of Introductory Microbiology is designed to give students taking Microbiology: a medical perspective BI2BJ5 in Part 2 sufficient practical experience. Students of Zoology, Food Bioscience, Agriculture, Animal science or Chemistry should register for the alternative version of Introductory Microbiology, BI1S1.

Assessable learning outcomes:
Students will be able to:
• explain key landmarks in Microbiology
• state fundamental characteristics of major groups of bacteria, viruses and fungi
• discuss nutrition, growth requirements of each class of microbe
• explain the structure and significance of peptidoglycan and bacterial endospores
• explain methods of monitoring bacterial growth and calculate viable and total bacterial counts
• outline key steps in pathogenesis of bacterial disease
• describe physical and chemical methods of control of bacterial and viral growth and disease
• outline the selectivity and action of penicillin
• discuss the principle of vaccination using viral disease as example
• recount examples of the significance of microbes in industry, biotechnology and disease
• using aseptic technique perform a variety of core microbiological techniques

Additional outcomes:
Independent learning will be reinforced with recommended guided reading and advance preparation for practical classes. Students will be introduced to the study of primary research publications and given tutorials on a numerical exercise to monitor bacterial growth.

Outline content:
Lecture content covers:
• An introduction to the world of microbes (bacteria, viruses, fungi and protozoa) and their impact on health, agriculture, food and pharmaceutical industry, molecular and genomic biology
• Key landmarks in development of practical and theoretical aspects of Microbiology as a science
• Structure and some key components of bacterial cells – Gram +ve and –ve bacteria, cell walls and peptidoglycan, spores, division by binary fission
• Sources of nutrients, C-source and energy used by bacterial cells; diverse environments (temperature, pH, salinity) in which bacteria grow, applications to selection and culture of specific bacteria
• Growth and quantitation of bacteria in batch and continuous culture
• Control of microbial growth - aseptic technique, physical and chemical methods
• Classification and identification of major groups of bacteria
• Properties of select bacteria important in disease, antibiotic production, and molecular biology– Escherichia coli, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Streptomyces
• How do bacteria cause disease? – Vibrio cholerae as example; infectious disease versus intoxication
• Biology of fungi - nutrition, classes of fungi, importance and users of fungi
• The discipline of virology and methods of studying viruses
• Viral classification and strategies of viral replication
• Prevention of disease, Koch’s postulates, antibiotics, vaccines

In 10 practical sessions students will learn aseptic technique, routine light microscopy, basic skills in handling, growing, quantitating, isolating and identifying bacteria from food, water and soil samples, and general safe laboratory practice.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Lectures, practicals (supported by online videos), preparation of written report, numerical exercises, analysis of a primary publication, recommended reading.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Tutorials 1
Practicals classes and workshops 20
Guided independent study 59
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 80
Report 9
Set exercise 2
Class test administered by School 9

Other information on summative assessment:
A practical report, monitoring lab books, numerical growth exercise and end of practical MCQ including assessment of comprehension of a primary publication.

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:
    A one-and-a-half hour examination requiring the answer of 50 multiple-choice questions

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Re-examination in August/September

    Last updated: 8 October 2014

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