BI1BAC2-Bacteriology and Virology

Module Provider: School of Biological Sciences
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Co-requisites: BI1S1 Introductory Microbiology BI1BEC1 Building Blocks of Life
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Dr Sheila MacIntyre


Summary module description:
This module builds on the Introductory Microbiology module (BI1S1) to explore the diversity of bacteria and viruses and their impact on health, medicine and biotechnology. Phenotypic and phylogenetic methods used to identify and classify bacteria are covered in lectures and practical classes and the impact of HGT on the genetic make-up and properties of bacteria considered. Key examples of selected bacteria highlighting their diversity and impact also reinforce understanding of the structure, function and metabolism of bacterial cells. The complexity and dynamic nature of bacterial communities is addressed including infection of bacteria by bacteriophage. Study of viruses continues with examples of human and/ or animal outbreaks that pose a major threat with focus on respiratory viruses and retroviruses, including HIV. The module concludes with a review of key recent events in Virology.

To enhance understanding of the diverse structure, metabolism and impact of microbes with in depth analysis of selected bacteria and viruses. This is built on knowledge of classification and phylogeny of bacteria and viruses. Understanding of microbes and disease is extended to include principles of vaccination.

Assessable learning outcomes:
Students will typically be able to:
• outline and compare methods used for classification of bacteria
• demonstrate an overview of bacteria from the proteobacteria, firmicutes and actinomycetes
• describe properties of selected key bacteria including examples with unusual properties and their benefit; discuss their impact on health and the environment
• discuss the human microbiome and bacterial interactions
• overview soil as a source of antibiotic producing bacteria and describe targets of selected antibiotics. Outline isolation and identification of soil-associated bacteria
• explain methods and perform calculations relating to bacterial and bacteriophage quantitation
• overview the bacteriophage - bacteria infection process
• describe properties and impact of common respiratory viruses
• discuss retroviruses and AIDS
• discuss current risks from emerging viral diseases and recent events in Virology
• explain examples of approaches to preventing/treating bacterial and viral disease.

Additional outcomes:
Skills in researching information and interpreting original publications. Improved aseptic technique.

Outline content:
Example of lecture content:

• Bacterial Taxonomy and evolution. Phenetic and phylogenetic classification of bacteria, definition of bacterial species, 16S rRNA typing, horizontal gene transfer and the core genome versus pan genome.
• Proteobacteria, a tour of the 5 classes of proteobacteria. Focus on Enterobacteriaceae and E. coli – a model organism, commensal and evolving pathogen
• Firmicutes, examples might include Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, Bacillus, Clostridium, (spore-formers, aerobic versus anaerobic growth), Lactic acid fermenters
• Actinomycetes, Mycobacteria, a slow-growing killer. Streptomyces, antibiotic production and discovery.
• Bacteria with unusual properties of environmental and biotechnological significance, examples might include production of biogas, nanowires and bacterial organelles
• Bacterial interactions and microbiomes
• Bacteriophage – virus:bacterium interactions
• Common respiratory viruses
• Retroviruses and AIDS
• Current threats from emerging viruses, including consideration of some ethical issues and new events in Virology.

Practical content:
Students investigate the quality of lake and river water by quantitating bacteria and viruses. Soil bacteria are isolated, identified and investigated for antibiotic production. Practicals reinforce handling microbes, aseptic technique and routine light microscopy.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Lectures are complemented by recommended reading to reinforce understanding and extend examples. Practical sessions also complement lectures, include quantitative calculations, scope for student design and evaluation of experiments and practice in efficiently using and evaluating an original publication.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 14
Practicals classes and workshops 12
Guided independent study 74
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 80
Class test administered by School 20

Other information on summative assessment:
Assessment includes: a class-administered test based on practical methods, results and understanding of an assigned paper; also, open-book electronic exercises based on directed reading, complementing lecture material.

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:
    A one-and-a-half hour examination

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Re-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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