Module Overview

Medical Microbiology

The aim of this module is to provide students with knowledge of the medical importance of microorganisms and their effect on humans and public health. Students will learn how microorganisms cause disease (pathogenesis) and how diseases are spread (epidemiology). Students will also discover how our bodies defend themselves against invading pathogens by learning the fundamentals of immunology. Furthermore, students will investigate the characteristics of the main infectious organisms that cause disease in humans, and will learn how to prevent them, diagnose them and treat them. Additionally, students will learn about the various types of antibiotics and the worrying phenomenon of antimicrobial resistance.

Module Code

MEMI H3001

ECTS Credits


*Curricular information is subject to change

Introduction to medical microbiology:

The history of medical microbiology: spontaneous generation versus the germ theory of disease. Robert Koch and Koch's postulates. Louis Pasteur, Francesco Redi, John Tyndall and other figures that feature in the historical advancement of medical microbiology.

Epidemiology: How infectious disease is spread:

Host / microbe relationships; Normal human microflora; Diseases in populations; Modes of disease transmission;

Pathogenesis of infectious disease:

Microorganisms as the etiological agents of disease; how microorganisms cause disease in the human body; virulence factors, intoxication and infection.

Public Health Care:

Outbreaks, epidemics and pandemics and their control; Notifiable diseases; Hospital-acquired infections; Bioterrorism

Introduction to Immunology:

How our bodies fight infections; Innate host defences (first line of defence, phagocytosis, inflammation, fever, molecular defences, interferon, complement); adaptive host defenses (antigens and antibodies, antibody structure and function, humoral and cell-mediated defences, T-cells and B-cells, primary and secondary responses); introduction to monoclonal antibodies.

Types of microbial disease:

Skin, eye and wound infections: E.g. acne, measles and chickenpox. Urogenital and sexually transmitted diseases: E.g. AIDS, herpes, cervical cancer. Respiratory diseases: E.g. SARS, TB, influenza. Cardiovascular, lymphatic and systemic diseases: E.g. Septicaemia, anthrax, plague, malaria. Nervous system diseases: CJD, rabies, meningitis.

Strategies in the control of infection:

Antimicrobial drugs, vaccination, immunological products, Universal precautions.

Antimicrobial drug resistance:

Examination of how microorganisms become resistant and how they resist antimicrobial drugs. Alternatives to antibiotics.

Laboratory diagnosis of infection:

Recap on traditional methods of microbial identification: direct microscopy and staining, culture methods. Introduction to immunological methods, serological methods, ELISA, Vitek, MALDI-TOF MS, PCR methods of microbial identification.

Module Content & Assessment
Assessment Breakdown %
Other Assessment(s)30
Formal Examination70