Molecular Microbiology

University of Queensland

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Molecular Microbiology

  • Host University

    University of Queensland

  • Location

    Brisbane, Australia

  • Area of Study

    Microbiology, Molecular Biology

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites


  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Host University Units

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Course Description
    The course studies the molecular basis of many genetic and structural components of microorganisms and how these relate to fermentation, human infection, treatment of disease, their cell and developmental biology. The course consist of up to date lecture material and advanced, comprehensive practicals. Lecture topics include, environmental sensing and signal transduction, regulation of gene expression, bacterial operons and regulons, bacterial physiology and stress responses, bacterial organelles and their function and modern methods of genetic manipulation. Practical classes include advanced methods of gene cloning and protein expression and fermentation leading to the production of beer and biofuels.
    Course Introduction
    What are the major component parts of microorganisms and how are they assembled and how do they coordinate their functions? How do microorganisms relate and react to their environment? How do they communicate? How are they related to other forms of life? How can we introduce new genes into bacterial cells and why? How do we sequence a bacterial genome and compare it with others? How do antibiotic-resistant bacteria evolve? How do bacteria deal with stress? What molecular mechanisms do bacterial pathogens use to infect humans and cause disease? How is their growth and physiology regulated? How are bacterial spores formed? Molecular Microbiology explores the fascinating answers to these questions and will introduce you to the molecular methods for answering them. Such answers are important for understanding how they evolve antibiotic resistance, how they contribute to degrading environmental pollutants, how they can be used in biotechnology, and how they cause disease and how new treatments and vaccines against such diseases can be discovered. This course deals with five major areas of microbial investigation, with a stress on molecular mechanisms underlying the life of microorganisms. 1. Microbial genetics and advanced techniques - cloning, sequencing and expression of genes, whole genome screening and essential gene identification. 2. Microbial genomics - how microbial genomes are sequenced, annotated and compared with each other, and analysed via bioinformatics, and how expression of genes across genomes can be studied. 3. Microbial gene regulation in relation to physiology. 4. Microbial cell biology - structure and components of bacterial cells such as cell walls and how cell processes such as cell division occur. 5. Microbial adaptation - stress responses and evironmental adaptation for persistence. Each of these areas is contributing in a major way to our understanding of the microbial world. The laboratory class takes you through 2 extended duration practicals and teaches you how to amplify, clone and express microbial genes, the wonders of fermentation and its utilisation for the production of beer and biofuels, and the contribution of these incredible processes to human life today.
    Learning Objectives
    After successfully completing this course you should be able to:
    • Understand principles of advanced bacterial genetics
    • understand methods in molecular microbiology e.g. cloning and expression of bacterial genes
    • be able to carry out gene transfer via transformation
    • be able to identify different mechanisms by which bacteria sense changes in their environment
    • Have a working knowledge of bacterial sigma factors and function
    • recognise common elements in regulatory mechanisms including responses to heat, starvation and growth phase transitions
    • comprehension of microbial communication, including quorum sensing
    • understanding microbial cell biology including cell structure of bacteria and archaea
    • understand developmental biology and regulation of development in bacteria
    • understand theories for the origins of the first cells
    • Be able to perform informative and scientifically rigorous laboratory note-keeping, and to write about and present experimental results, discussing their meaning and significance in scientific English
    • to understand the mechanisms used by virulent bacterial pathogens to infect and cause human disease
    • to understand the methods used to study the molecular basis of bacterial pathogenicity
    • understand concept of bacterial persistence vs resistance together with a number of key persistence mechanisms
    • be familiar with leading classes of antibiotics, their targets and the mechanisms of resistance to these.
    • be able to set up PCR reactions, construct plasmid vectors carrying new genes, and clone plasmids into E. coli, and understand the theoretical basis for such methods
    • Understand fermentation theoretically, and control it practically, for the generation of beer and biofuels.
    Class Contact
    2 Lecture hours, 3 Practical or Laboratory hours
    Assessment Summary
    Group Work Participation: Pass/Fail
    Laboratory Report (Bacterial Vaccine Antigens): 20%
    Laboratory Report (Beer and Biofuels): 30%
    Final Exam: 60%

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Some courses may require additional fees.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.