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Unit of study_

MICR3952: Microbiology in a Changing World (Advanced)

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. For MICR3952, the practical component consists of a research project (may be lab-based or online/bioinformatics-style) which is undertaken in an academic research lab in the Microbiology discipline. These research projects emphasise in-depth reading and critical analysis of the primary scientific literature and more-advanced molecular microbiology skills. 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 MICR3952
Academic unit Life and Environmental Sciences Academic Operations
Credit points 6
Prerequisites:
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A mark of 70 or above in (MIMI2X02 or MEDS2004 or MICR2X22 or BMED2404)
Corequisites:
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None
Prohibitions:
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MICR3042 or MICR3052 or MICR3942
Assumed knowledge:
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2000 level microbiology (MICR2X21 or MICR2024 or MICR2X31)

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

  • LO1. Explain, analyse, and evaluate 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.
  • LO7. Demonstrate the ability to work safely, effectively, and independently on a research project in a real-world lab environment.​

Unit outlines

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