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Unit information: Medical Microbiology in 2020/21

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Medical Microbiology
Unit code PANM33008
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Professor. Jim Spencer
Open unit status Not open



3 level 6/H lecture units and Research Skills unit.

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

Description including Unit Aims

This Unit will give an account of several high-profile problems in medical microbiology, focussing on healthcare associated infections. Details of emerging and re-emerging bacterial and fungal infections will be presented, together with an overview of research into the strategies that can be used to track infections, identify infectious agents and develop novel ways of treating infections. One of the main reasons for the rise of infectious diseases, particularly in the hospital setting, is the development of multiple antimicrobial drug resistance by bacteria. Focussing on research within the School, key drug resistance mechanisms will be defined at a molecular level, and our attempts to combat resistance will be discussed. Lectures in weeks 13-16.


The unit aims to discuss the mechanisms by which medically relevant bacteria and fungi become resistant to antimicrobial agents and the genetic mechanisms involved in the spread of resistance. It will cover the clinical problems caused by key drug resistant bacteria in the healthcare setting, and how changes in healthcare have exacerbated this problem. Finally, the unit will discuss methods for tracking and controlling healthcare associated infections, and approaches to combating drug resistance, including the development of new antimicrobials.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and understanding of current topics in Medical Microbiology with a particular emphasis on the emergence of antimicrobial drug resistance. Knowledge of the scientific literature pertaining to healthcare associated infections, both bacterial and fungal, and an ability to evaluate this literature critically.

Teaching Information

Lectures, Data Handling Session.

Independent study: Students are expected to study the recommended literature.

Assessment Information

Timed assessment to include 2 essays, one essay to be chosen from each section containing three questions.

Reading and References

Reviews and primary articles from the current scientific literature.