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The University of Southampton

BIOL2044 Medical Microbiology

Module Overview

See aims and learning outcomes.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Describe in detail concepts in microbiology including: a) Diversity in the microbial world including bacteria, viruses, fungi, microsporidia b) The role of microorganisms in a range of diseases, including the nature of the disease-causing organisms as well as their routes of transmission & how we can control them. c) Microbial biofilms, their role in disease, and mechanisms of microbial species-interactions within mixed microbial biofilms and between biofilms and higher organisms d) Factors that limit microbial growth and survival in disease e) Methods for studying microbial populations and their activity in infection f) The application of medical microbiology principles for clinical or public health benefits
  • Test hypotheses in microbiology via experimental design, analyse results and discuss outcomes in the light of the current body of knowledge (e.g. published literature)
  • Critically evaluate scientific data. This includes self generated, peer generated data and published literature
  • Demonstrate effective written and verbal scientific communication skills.


1 SAW Overview of module and organisation, learning outcomes and assessment processes. Introduction to Microbial Life. Bacteriology I SAW Bacteriology II 2 SAW Bacteriology III SAW Bacteriology IV 3 SAW Biofilms I SAW Biofilms II 4 ARK Virology and viral evolution I ARK Virology and viral evolution II 5 ARK Virology and viral evolution III ARK Microsporidia 6 ARK Mycology I ARK Mycology II 7 CWK Medical Microbiology I Lung infection CWK Medical Microbiology II Gastrointestinal ecology 8 RH Medical Microbiology III Brain infections RH Medical Microbiology IV Brain infections 9 CWK Medical Microbiology V Skin ecology and indwelling devices CWK Medical Microbiology VI Hospital infections 10 PHE, or Postdocs Guest Lectures – Topics may vary, depending on current research and hot topics, e.g. AMR. PHE or Postdocs Guest Lectures - Topics may vary, depending on current research and hot topics, e.g. AMR. 11 SAW Medical Microbiology V Urinary Tract Infections SAW Medical Microbiology VI Sexually Transmitted Infections 12 SAW/ARK Revision Lecture /CWK/RH Revision Lecture

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The contact teaching component of this module will be delivered by lecturing (22 lectures) and practical classes (3 x 3 hr practicals). A series of learning outcomes have been established and teaching and non-contact learning are closely aligned with these criteria. A variety of learning methods are employed in order to evaluate student progress and understanding including a mid-module internet-based questionnaire. A number of the learning outcomes are focused on transferrable skills including scientific report writing (the practical write-up will be in the style of a scientific paper). There will be four laboratory-based practicals each held twice in weeks 2/3, 5/6 and 7/8 and 9/10 respectively. Students will be allocated to one of the two practical groups in the first lecture. These practicals will be based on an investigation of antibiotic susceptibility in planktonic v. biofilm bacterial growth modes and will include: Practical I) aseptic technique, Practical II) determination of an antibiotic minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC); III) comparison of biofilm/planktonic susceptibility using colony forming unit (CFU) counts, IV) Bioluminescence as a biological reporter to determine antibiotic susceptibility.

Practical classes and workshops9
Wider reading or practice117
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Michael T. Madigan, John M. Martinko, David Stahl, David P. Clark (2011). Brock Biology of Microorganisms. 

Joanne Willey, Linda Sherwood, Chris Woolverton (2010). Prescott's Microbiology. 


Assessment Strategy

Examination: The paper will consist of two parts worth equal marks: Part A (one third of examination marks): A compulsory short answer section of 10 questions. Part B (two thirds of the examination marks): An essay section in which students will be asked to answer two, out of a choice of five questions, each worth one third of the exam paper. Laboratory project: This is a report on the research project that students will carry out in groups as part of their laboratory practicals. The assessment for this project will be a final report submission in week 12 worth 25%. The final report will be in the format of a scientific paper and aims to assess learning outcomes 2, 3 and 4. Students will be given guidance on scientific report writing during the laboratory sessions. As part of the learning process students will submit an outline (including hypothesis, aims and key methods) and risk assessment to their demonstrator - Demonstrators will provide feedback that will inform students in preparing their final report.


MethodPercentage contribution
Laboratory project report 25%
Written exam 75%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Pre-requisites: BIOL1007 OR BIOL1010.

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