BI3BG8-Mechanisms for Microbial Function

Module Provider: School of Biological Sciences
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Pre-requisites: BI2BR4 Function of the Bacterial Cell and BI2BK5 Molecular Biology of the Gene: Expression, Function and Analysis
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Prof Robert Jackson


Summary module description:

Students will become aware of recent selected, exciting developments in microbiology that highlight the mechanisms underlying bacterial functions and the methodologies and technologies which facilitate such advances. Students will learn how to abstract information from, and review, recent research work in the primary scientific literature

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module it is expected that the student will be able to:
-comprehend and summarize research articles
-provide an oral presentation with PowerPoint visual aids summarizing a research article
-demonstrate an understanding of the selected topics in mechanisms for microbial function
-have an enhanced comprehension of the link between experimental data and scientific knowledge

Additional outcomes:
-demonstrate an improved theoretical knowledge of key techniques in microbiological research

Outline content:
This module will provide students with an in-depth knowledge of several key topics in microbiology at the molecular level; many of these are either directly relevant to microbial pathogens or provide an analogous model for pathogens. Students will learn how experimental approaches are used to uncover scientific knowledge, and will gain an appreciation of the limits of man's knowledge in the specified topics. Students will discover how scientific knowledge derives from research published in the form of peer-reviewed research articles. Students will also acquire experience of assimilating, summarising and reviewing information from relevant scientific papers (primary research articles and review papers). The topics covered will be: gene expression and regulation (including quorum sensing) in bacteria; bacterial stress & survival; bacterial evolution; and specialised bacterial mechanisms (spore formers, biofilm formation, and endosymbionts).

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Lectures, student seminars, group discussions, problem solving, comprehension of research articles.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 14
Tutorials 6
Guided independent study 80
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 70
Written assignment including essay 15
Oral assessment and presentation 15

Other information on summative assessment:
5 questionnaires (15%) and 1 student seminar (15%)

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor 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:
    Two-hour paper

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Re-sit examination in August/September

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 31 March 2017

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