Module Overview

Molecular Microbiology

This module aims to develop knowledge of microbiology at a molecular level.

This module will focus on DNA replication, transcription, translation, gene transfer, and molecular regulation of prokaryotic organisms. Students will gain an understanding of the molecular mechanisms that prokaryotic microorganisms use for growth and survival in a range of diverse and stressful environments.

Students will also investigate the molecular mechanisms used by prokaryotic microorganisms to cause disease and resist antimicrobial agents. Current molecular methods for the study of microorganisms in isolation, and within complex microbial communities (e.g. biofilms) will also be investigated.

Module Code

BIOL 3016

ECTS Credits


*Curricular information is subject to change
  1. Key concepts of microbial genetics to include the structure of the bacterial chromosome and other genetic elements such as plasmids, bacteriophages and transposons.
  2. Key processes such as replication, mutations (point and frameshift) and DNA transfer events (transformation, transduction and conjugation) in bacteria.
  3. Gene expression pathways used by bacteria to adapt to changes in their environment.
  4. Molecular basis of infection.
  5. Introduction to the role of microbial genetics in recombinant DNA technology and microbial genomics.
  6. Mode of action of antimicrobials and mechanisms of bacterial resistance.
  7. DNA based methods of bacterial identification and typing and their application in industry.


Practical programme to include:

  1. Construction of bacterial gene deletion mutants using lambda red recombination.
  2. Congo red agar assay to detect biofilm-forming bacteria.
  3. Quantitative measurement of bacterial biofilm formation in a microtitre plate format.
  4. Investigation of antimicrobial agents (susceptibility testing, minimum inhibitory concentration measurement).
  5. Investigation of molecular mechanisms of resistance to antimicrobial agents (point mutations, conjugative plasmids).



Lectures, tutorials, problem based learning, laboratory based practicals.

Module Content & Assessment
Assessment Breakdown %
Formal Examination60
Other Assessment(s)40