Microbiology and Infectious Disease

First year module

Microbiology and Infectious Disease is a first year module taken by both our BSc Human Biology and BSc Biological Sciences students.

My name’s Julia Lodge and I run the first year Microbiology and Infectious Diseases module.

Now, for a lot of our students they haven’t done very much microbiology at school so a lot of the content of this module is new. Hopefully that makes it very interesting. So we start by introducing you to all the different types of micro-organisms. You’ll study viruses; you’ll study bacteria and eukaryotic micro-organisms, like fungi, algae and protists.

So within micro-organisms there are organisms with incredibly versatile metabolisms, a whole range of different cell types and organisms that are adapted to living in a wide range of environments. Some live in quite hospitable sort of environments, for instance living on the human body. But others live in incredibly inhospitable places, for instance there are micro-organisms at the base of the food chain around black smokers deep in ocean trenches where there’s no sunlight and incredibly high pressures and temperatures.

The final part of the module then concentrates on infectious disease and we introduce you to the main types of micro-organisms involved in disease and key disease types and we’ll also look at anti-microbial therapies. And this leads on really nicely to our second year microbiology module, which is called Microbes and Man, and where you focus on the role of micro-organisms in infectious disease.

In addition to lectures and workshops, you’ll do practicals in microbiology. These lead on from your first semester skills module where you’ll be introduced to some really important techniques in microbiology. You will have learned how to handle micro-organisms safely in the lab, that’s called aseptic technique, and you’ll also have learned to use microscopes and you’ll be able to apply those in the microbiology practicals to looking at bacteria and fungi.

When you do a practical you have a practical manual which has details about the background to the experiments, what you need to do and places to record your results. And as part of the assessment for this module we’ll mark your practical manual. The other assessments include a short multiple choice test part way through the course. That’s to help you assess how you’re doing. You’ll also so a case study where you’ll research a topic in microbiology and then the exam component will be held in the summer and will include multiple choice questions and short answer questions, some of which will ask you to draw annotated diagrams.

20 Credits

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