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Unit information: Microbes and Disease in 2015/16

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Unit name Microbes and Disease
Unit code PANM12042
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Stuart Siddell
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Cellular and Molecular Medicine
Faculty Faculty of Life Sciences

Description including Unit Aims

The study of infectious disease: virulence factors, host/tissue specificity, microbiological niches, epidemiology, and intervention strategies.

The unit introduces disease-causing microbes and the basis of their pathogenesis. It is delivered using a series of integrated lectures, tutorials and laboratory sessions supported by on-line resources.

Unit aims:

To provide students with information about:

  1. Microbes, including bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasitic protozoa, that cause disease and how they do it,
  2. the diversity of microbial pathogenesis,
  3. steps that can be taken to lessen the impact of pathogens on animal and human health.

To teach students skills including:

  1. microbiology-related practical skills including safe handling of microbes in the laboratory,
  2. appreciation of experimental design,
  3. data interpretation,
  4. written, oral and visual presentation, both individually and as part of a team.

Intended Learning Outcomes

At the end of the unit a successful student will be able to:

  1. describe various microbes including viruses, bacteria, fungi and protists that cause disease and how they do it,
  2. explain the diversity of mechanisms of microbial pathogenesis,
  3. list steps that can be taken to lessen the impact of pathogens on animal and human health,
  4. handle microorganisms with confidence and safety in the laboratory,
  5. describe experimental design and interpret data,
  6. present scientific information and arguments in written, oral and visual form, both individually and as part of a team,
  7. undertake the further study of microorganisms at Level 5 and 6.

Teaching Information

  • Lectures
  • Tutorials
  • Practicals
  • e-learning to support laboratory practicals via eBiolabs

Assessment Information

Two 1500 word essays (5%)

Oral presentation (2%)

Poster presentation (3%)

eBiolabs pre-lab quizzes and post-lab assignments (5%)

1-hour mid-unit assessment consisting of multiple choice questions (10%)

2-hour written exam (summer) including multiple choice questions and two essays (75%)

The exams will cover learning outcomes 1-3, 5-6.

The assessment via eBiolabs and the practical write-up will assess learning outcomes 4-6.

The essay and oral presentation will cover learning outcome 6 and any from 1-3.

Formative assessment:

For formative purposes students will receive feedback as follows:

  • The essays will be marked and returned with verbal and written feedback during tutorials.
  • Electronic feedback will be provided for the pre-lab and post-lab work via eBiolabs.
  • Oral presentations will be marked and subject to verbal feedback during the tutorial and a written feedback sheet provided.
  • Feedback during practical classes will be provided by staff and demonstrators.
  • Unit assessment marks will be provided and feedback will be available from the Unit Director on request.
  • A breakdown of marks for the summer exams will be provided and additional feedback will be provided by the Unit Director on request.

Reading and References

  • Microbiology: a clinical approach. Strelkauskas A., Strelkauskas J. and Moszyk-Strelkauskas M. 2010. 1st Edition. Garland Science. ISBN-13: 978-0815365143. The necessary background to the course can be found in this book. There is also an extensive array of student resources to be found at the publisher’s website (
  • Viruses: biology, application and control. Harper D. 2011. 1st Edition. Garland Science. ISBN-13: 978-0815341505. This textbook is recommended as additional reading for those particularly interested in viruses.
  • Mims’ Medical Microbiology, 4th Ed. By Goering, Dockrell, Roitt, Zukerman & Wakelin. Elsevier Mosby, St. Louis, 2008.
  • Medical Microbiology, 6th Ed. by Murray, Rosenthal & Pfaller. Elsevier Mosby, St. Louis, 2009.
  • Brock: Biology of Microorganisms, 12th Ed. by Madigan, Martinko, Dunlap & Clark. Pearson Benjamin Cummings, San Francisco., 2008).
  • Prescott, Harley & Klein’s Microbiology, 7th Ed. by Willey, Sherwood & Woolverton. McGraw-Hill, N.Y., 2008.

All textbooks are available in the Medical Sciences library.