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Unit of study_

MICR3052: Microbiology in a Changing World

Microbes are key agents of global change, they provide resources for industry and biotechnology, and have critical impacts on human and animal health. This unit takes the fundamental concepts and skills learned in 2nd year microbiology units and weaves them together with strands from environmental, industrial, and medical microbiology in four sections: (1) ‘Concepts and Tools’ will strengthen foundational knowledge of the molecular biology, biochemistry and physiology of microbes. (2) ‘Microbes in the Environment’ will examine how microbes are used to manage soil and water quality in natural and polluted environments and how they contribute to agriculture. (3) ‘Microbes in Industry’ will explore biotechnology and fermentation in the microbial manufacture of various commodities (e.g. ethanol), and in wastewater treatment. (4) ‘Microbes in Health’ will focus on understanding the microbiomes of humans and animals, and how these can be manipulated to enhance health. Much of the content in each section will be delivered in student-led seminars, which will develop skills in critical analysis of research papers, collaboration, and discussion. The lecture content is integrated with a practical lab component consisting of two ongoing hands-on projects in microbial biotechnology. These projects will further develop core skills required in many microbiology labs (e.g. safe handling of cultures, microscopy, PCR) and will introduce more advanced skills (plasmid transformation, protein purification, SDS-PAGE, DNA sequencing, bioinformatics) relevant to industrial and research careers. Overall, students will gain an in-depth understanding of the importance of microbes in industry and the environment, and the practical skills to apply this knowledge in a range of future professions.

Code MICR3052
Academic unit Life and Environmental Sciences Academic Operations
Credit points 6
6cp from (MIMI2X02 or MEDS2004 or MICR2X22 or BMED2404)
MICR3042 or MICR3942 or MICR3952
Assumed knowledge:
2000 level microbiology (MICR2X21 or MICR2024 or MICR2X31)

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. ​Explain the impact of microbes in different contexts: health, environmental and industrial.
  • LO2. Effectively communicate knowledge of microbial activities in oral, written and visual formats, and be able to productively contribute to discussions on real-world topics involving microbiology.
  • LO3. Utilise practical skills essential for microbiology laboratory work, including aseptic technique, safe handling of cultures, microscopy, and molecular techniques.
  • LO4. ​Plan and execute experiments in microbiology and molecular biology and appreciate the context and professional significance of managing workflows and experimental timelines.
  • LO5. Correctly use LabArchives electronic notebooks to demonstrate the importance of accurate, truthful, and timely record keeping and data management.​
  • LO6. Analyse, evaluate, and synthesise microbiological and molecular data, including managing and explaining the limitations inherent in different experimental and analytical methods.​

Unit outlines

Unit outlines will be available 1 week before the first day of teaching for the relevant session.