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Unit information: Fundamentals of Molecular Microbiology in 2020/21

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Unit name Fundamentals of Molecular Microbiology
Unit code PANM10003
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Murillo Cabeza
Open unit status Not open




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

Description including Unit Aims

The unit provides students a thorough grounding in microbiology, covering the basic biology of viruses, fungi and bacteria, and focusing on genetics and genomics, how genetic variability arises and how genetic information is processed into important phenotypic characteristics including structural diversity, metabolic diversity and virulence.

Unit aims:

To provide students with information about:

  1. Microbial diversity
  2. Basic genetics of bacteria, fungi and viruses.
  3. Mutation, and the mechanisms by which mutations can affect, and pass between members of a population.
  4. Control of gene expression and associated signaling pathways.
  5. Gross structural variation between groups of microbes.
  6. Metabolic diversity in fungi and bacteria and its implications.
  7. Virulence factors and their impact on infectious disease.
  8. Viral complexity

To help students develop their essay writing, and data interpretation skills.

Intended Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Understand microbial diversity.
  2. Recall how genetic variation impacts on gross structural variation in microbes.
  3. Describe how microbes sense their environments and control the expression of phenotypes with importance to humans.
  4. Describe the basis of mutation, and the mechanisms by which mutations can affect and pass between members of a population
  5. Describe bacterial and fungal metabolism and how it impacts on society.
  6. Understand the complexity of viruses.
  7. Recall the molecular basis of key determinants of virulence.
  8. Present scientific information and arguments in written form.
  9. Undertake the further study of microorganisms in the following unit (Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, PANM10001)

Teaching Information

Online delivery of lectures and exercises

Practicals and/or online practicals supported by eBiolabs

Assessment Information

Practical write up (20%)

eBiolabs pre­lab quizzes and post­lab assignments (20%)

Examination (January) (60%)

The exams will cover learning outcomes 1-8.

Formative assessment:

For formative purposes students will receive feedback as follows:

Unit assessment marks will be provided before the end of Teaching Block 1 and feedback will be available from the Unit Director on request.

A breakdown of marks for the exam 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.

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.

Principles of virology. Flint,S. J.; Racaniello, V. R.; Rall, G. F.; Skalka, A. M.; Enquist, L. W.; Skalka, A. (2015) 4th edn. Washington, DC: ASM Press. This textbook is recommended as additional reading for those particularly interested in viruses.

BIOS Instant Notes: Microbiology. Baker S., Griffiths C. and Nicklin J. 2011. 4th Edition. Garland Science. ISBN­13: 978­0415607704. Recommended for revision.

Fundamental medical mycology. Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell. Reiss, E., Shadomy, H. J. and Lyon, G. M. (2012). Available at: This textbook is recommended as additional reading for those particularly interested in fungi'.

All textbooks are available in the Medical Sciences library.