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Molecular Microbiology

Module titleMolecular Microbiology
Module codeBIO2094
Academic year2020/1
Module staff

Dr Alan Brown (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

Infectious diseases remain a leading cause of death worldwide. Focusing primarily on bacterial and fungal pathogens of humans, this module will develop your knowledge of microbiology at a molecular level. We will cover topics including:

  • molecular strategies for microbial survival, growth and adaptation (including in the context of infection)
  • the molecular basis of antimicrobial drug resistance
  • the molecular mechanisms by which pathogens cause disease
  • current molecular methods for the study of microorganisms

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module aims to develop knowledge of microbiology at a molecular level. You will gain an understanding of the molecular mechanisms that underlie the growth and survival of microbial species in diverse environments, their ability to cause disease in relevant hosts, and their ability to resist antimicrobial agents. In addition, this module will consider molecular methods that can be applied to the study of microbes, how those methods impact on our understanding of human-microbial interactions during health and disease, and how fundamental understanding of microbial processes can lead to the identification of novel antimicrobial strategies to help combat the relentless rise of antimicrobial resistance. 

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Describe in some detail and discuss the molecular mechanisms that enable growth, survival and adaptation of microbial species in diverse environments
  • 2. Explain the molecular basis of infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance
  • 3. Demonstrate, and comment on, procedures and molecular methodologies for the study of microorganisms

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. Describe and evaluate approaches to our understanding of molecular biology with reference to primary literature, reviews and research articles
  • 5. Describe in some detail essential facts and theory across a subdiscipline of the biosciences
  • 6. Identify critical questions from the literature and synthesise research-informed examples from the literature into written work
  • 7. With some guidance, deploy established techniques of data analysis and enquiry within the biosciences

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 8. Communicate ideas, principles and theories fluently by written means in a manner appropriate to the intended audience
  • 9. Develop, with some guidance, a logical and reasoned argument with valid conclusions
  • 10. Collect and interpret appropriate data, drawing on a range of sources, with limited guidance

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

The module will commence with an orientation session to provide full details of the module aims, content, assessment criteria and what is expected of the students. Thereafter, a series of lectures will cover topics including:

  • Methods in molecular microbiology
  • Bacterial and fungal stress responses
  • Quorum sensing in bacteria
  • Signal perception and microbial adaptation
  • Strategies for microbial growth and survival within a host
  • Sporulation in bacteria
  • Regulation of cell polarity and cell division in bacteria and fungi
  • Hyphal development in fungi

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching22Lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching15Laboratory practicals
Guided Independent Study113Exam preparation and wider reading


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Lecturer feedback during contact sessions11 x 1 hour3-4, 7-8Oral
Feedback via ELE forumAd hoc1-10Written
Formative MCQs available on ELEAd hoc2-4, 9-10Online

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay examination601 hour1-6, 8-10Written
Data analysis and scientific poster40Scientific poster2-4, 7-8Written


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Essay examinationEssay examination1-6, 8-10August Referral/Deferral
Data analysis and scientific posterData analysis and scientific poster2-4, 7-8August Referral/Deferral

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to sit a further examination. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of referral will count for 100% of the final mark and will be capped at 40%.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • ¬†Brock Biology of Microorganisms (Pearson)

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Infection, pathogen, molecular, microorganisms

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites

BIO1337 Microbiology or BIO1342 Microbiology and Cells 1

Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date