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Molecular Microbiology - BIO00064I

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  • Department: Biology
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Emily Flack
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: I
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25
    • See module specification for other years: 2023-24

Module summary

Microbes are the oldest and most diverse group of organisms on Earth and are central to the health of our planet and its inhabitants. This module will use key microbes to exemplify molecular microbiology concepts, examining the diversity of the microbial world and considering the range of mechanisms that microbes use to grow, survive and compete in a range of environments. Five teaching blocks begin with “Who’s out there?” examining the diversity of the microbial world and the key character microbes will be introduced. “Growing pains” considers how microbes fuel their growth. “Tooling Up” looks at the diverse structures of microbial cell surfaces that determine how other cells see microbes. “Life on the Outside” will consider how microbial communities can survive in a diverse range of environments. Finally, “Who’s Hosting?” focuses on microbial pathogens, virulence and colonization of hosts. Lectures, workshops and practicals will provide opportunites to develop problem solving and data analysis skills in preparation for the module assessment.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 1 2024-25

Module aims

This module aims to introduce students to the diversity of the microbial world including bacteria, viruses, protozoan parasites, archaea and fungi. Considering microbiology from a molecular perspective, concepts will be exemplified using “key character” microbes who will feature throughout the module. Students will examine key features of microbial genomes and understand how microbes build and fuel their cells. We will then consider the strategies that commensal and pathogenic microbes use to interact with a range of environments and colonise their hosts.

Module learning outcomes

Students who successfully complete this module will be able to:

Describe and compare the molecular structures found in different microorganisms (including bacteria, viruses, protozoan parasites, archaea and fungi) and correlate these structures to their function.

Describe and compare the strategies that different microorganisms use to compete and survive in a range of environments, including how pathogens can colonise host organisms.

Analyse and interpret experimental data and solve problems linked to module content


Task Length % of module mark
Online Exam -less than 24hrs (Centrally scheduled)
Molecular Microbiology
6 hours 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Online Exam -less than 24hrs (Centrally scheduled)
Molecular Microbiology
6 hours 100

Module feedback

Marks for all summative assessments will be made available to you and your supervisor via e:vision. Feedback will be either individual or cohort-level, depending on the assessment format. You should take the opportunity to discuss your marks and feedback with your supervisor.

For exam-style summative assessment, model answers will be provided for all questions along with cohort-level feedback indicating how students answered questions in general. Marks achieved per question will be added to your script.

For coursework assessments (eg. reports or essays) you will receive individual feedback on your work. This will usually be in the form of a feedback sheet that will include suggestions for further improvement.

During the teaching of the module you will receive formative feedback that may be at a whole class or individual level. Such feedback may include: model answers and discussion of workshop questions, summaries of performance in practicals, VLE-based quizzes, individual spoken comments during workshops, individual written comments on formative work.

Indicative reading

These are available through the VLE module site.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.