Microbiology is the science of microscopic forms of life. In this course you will learn about the fundamental biology of viruses, prokaryotes (bacteria and archaea) and microbial eukaryotes (including fungi, protists and algae). In particular, we will investigate the basics of anatomical structure, biochemical composition, function, diversity and systematics. In the second part of the module, we consider microorganisms in human disease and discuss the diversity and underlying biology of infectious organisms.
Microorganisms are ubiquitous: there is no place on Earth that is naturally microbe-free and each of us carries around a teeming zoo of microorganisms on our bodies. Despite this, however, most people have only a very limited appreciation of the fascinating and beautiful world of organisms that are too small to be seen except by means of the light or electron microscope. In addition, all of us are regularly struck down by illnesses caused by microorganisms and, for an unlucky few, these may be very serious or even fatal.
The aim of this module is to reveal the incredible diversity of the microbial world and to develop an understanding of how it impacts on humans via infectious disease as well as in other, more positive, ways. In addition, microbiology is a very practical subject with its own specialist techniques. In this context, a major aim of the module is to train you in the practical techniques used for growing, studying and identifying microorganisms in the laboratory in a way that is safe for both you and your colleagues.