Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Microbiology

LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Faculty of Medicine and Surgery

DESCRIPTION This Study-unit provides an overview of bacterial and viral properties, classification and mechanisms of infection of the different organisms. It discusses the principles of microbiology laboratory investigations, including management of microbiology specimens. It also covers the principles of resistance to antibiotics, sterilization, disinfection and vaccination.

In addition to lectures, students will be exposed to small group teaching in the form of tutorials, some sessions being based on clinical cases. Students are expected to participate in discussion, having prepared for the sessions by working through worksheets provided in advance. They are stimulated to think and critically discuss the material provided, so as to understand the relevance of applying basic scientific knowledge to the solution of clinical problems. They are encouraged to integrate ethical, behavioural and professional principles with clinical concepts.
The common features of these small group sessions is that they involve active participation, are student centered and conducive to independent learning as a prelude to continuing life-long education.

Observation visits to a variety of clinical and/or laboratory sites will be offered as appropriate.

Study-unit Aims

To provide a foundation for understanding the natural history of infectious diseases, the role of the laboratory in the diagnosis and management of microbiological disease, and the principles of disease prevention both in the community and in the hospital setting.

Learning Outcomes

1. Knowledge & Understanding: By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

1. Discuss bacterial and viral (and to a lesser extent fungal and parasitic) classification
2. Describe bacterial and viral morphology
3. Describe the pathogenic mechanisms in infectious disease
4. Discuss the modes of transmission of infectious disease
5. Outline the basic concepts of infection control
6. Describe the principles underlying basic analytical microbiological procedures
7. Outline the role of microbiology in clinical management of selected infectious diseases
8. Name the aetiological agents of infectious diseases and their respective infectivity
9. Explain the importance of infection as one of the major causes of mortality and morbidity, despite the availability of a wide array of anti-microbial agents
10. Discuss the importance of a multi-disciplinary approach in the prevention and management of serious infection

2. Skills: By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

1. Classify and be cognizant of the biological properties/versatility of micro-organisms
2. Outline the basic principles underlying analytical tests
3. Identify the correct methods of sample selection and collection for reaching a diagnosis
4. Indicate the vaccination schedule used locally
5. Outline the different methods of disinfection, sterilization and universal safety precautions
6. Use microbiological skills in the investigation, containment and prevention of infection in the community and in the hospital setting
7. Employ microbiological skills in the correct use of antibiotic treatment and prophylaxis in an attempt to prevent/delay the emergence of natural/acquired microbial resistance
8. Outline the vulnerability of immunosuppressed patients to serious life-threatening infection

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings

1. Medical Microbiology and Infection, Tom Elliott et al, 4th Ed, ISBN 1405129329, Blackwell, 2007 and
2. Clinical Oriented Cases in Microbiology, Hilary Humphreys & William Irving, 2nd Ed, ISBN 0198515855, Oxford University Press, 2004
3. Notes on Medical Microbiology (Paperback), MC Timbury, C McCartney, B Thakker, KN Ward, ISBN 0443071640 or latest edition, Churchill Livingstone

Reference Texts:
Medical Microbiology, Greenwood D, Slack RCB, Peutherer JF, Barer MR, 17th Edition, ISBN 0443102090, Churchill Livingstone, 2007 (or latest edition)

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture, Independent Study & Tutorial

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Multiple Choice Questions Examination (2 Hours) SEM1 Yes 100%


The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.