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Unit information: Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases in 2020/21

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Unit name Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
Unit code PANM10001
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Massey
Open unit status Not open




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

Description including Unit Aims

The unit introduces disease-causing microbes and the diseases that they cause. It includes methods for diagnosing infection, vaccination as a method for preventing infection, and methods for treating infection, including antimicrobial drug modes of action and the rise of drug resistance.

Unit aims:

To provide students with information about:

  1. Key microbes, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasitic protozoa and prions that cause human disease and how they do it,
  2. Key examples of infectious diseases relevant to the global population including emerging diseases, and disease epidemiology.
  3. Methods for identifying pathogens, and determining susceptibility to antimicrobial drugs.
  4. Antimicrobial mode of action and antimicrobial drug resistance.
  5. Vaccine development

To teach students skills including:

  1. microbiology­related practical skills including safe handling of microbes in the laboratory,
  2. appreciation of experimental design,
  3. data interpretation,

individual written work, and oral and visual presentations 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, prions and protists that cause disease and how they can be identified,
  2. describe the key human infectious diseases and the microbes that cause them,
  3. describe how antimicrobial drugs have their action, and how resistance to these drugs emerges.
  4. list steps that can be taken to lessen the impact of pathogens on human health,
  5. Understand and describe how to handle microorganisms with confidence and safety in the laboratory,
  6. describe experimental design and interpret data,
  7. present scientific information and arguments in written, oral and visual form, undertake the further study of microorganisms at Level 5 and 6.

Teaching Information

Online delivery of Lectures and exercises

Practicals and/or online practicals supported by eBiolabs

Assessment Information

eBiolabs pre­lab quizzes and post­lab assignments (20%)

Poster presentation (20%)

Examination (summer) (60%)

The exams will cover learning outcomes 1 - 4, 6 - 7.

The assessment via eBiolabs and the practical write­up will assess learning outcomes 5 - 7.

The poster presentation will cover learning outcome 7 and any from 1 - ­4.

Formative assessment:

For formative purposes students will receive feedback as follows:

Electronic feedback will be provided for the pre­lab and post­ lab work via eBiolabs.

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

Recommended reading

Microbiology: a clinical approach. Strelkauskas and others. 2nd Edition. Garland Science (2016). ISBN­13: 978-­0815345138.

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 publishers website (

Further reading

Viruses: biology, application and control. Harper D. 2011. 1st Edition. Garland Science. ISBN­13: 978­0815341505. 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 & Kleins Microbiology, 7th Ed. by Willey, Sherwood & Woolverton. McGraw­Hill, N.Y., 2008.