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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

MICR2320 Skills for Microbiologists 2

40 creditsClass Size: 35

Module manager: Dr Christopher Randall

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 (Sep to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

This module is not approved as a discovery module


This module aims to provide additional training in data collection, experimental techniques relevant to the multi-disciplinary arena of the biological sciences, the analysis of numerical data, problem solving, teamwork and presentation skills. Skills training during Semester 1 will be integrated with the lecture content of BIOL 2111 Genetic Engineering, BIOL 2110 Power of Bacterial Genomics and MICR 2120 Cell Biology of Disease.

Learning outcomes
On completion of the module students will:
- acquire practical skills in microbiology, specifically in molecular and medical virology, bacteriology and immunology, especially relating to medically-important organisms;
- be able to reinforce their skills in aseptic technique, microscopy and staining methods, and to expand their knowledge of microscopy (laser scanning) and cell analysis methods such as flow cytometry;
- be able to appreciate how molecular and biochemical methods impact upon microbiological research;
- appreciate the role of bacterial cell structures in susceptibility to antibiotics and other inhibitory substances;
- acquire skills in bioinformatics and statistics and will appreciate the role of bioinformatics in shaping research and the importance of statistics for analysing research data;
- expand their experience of problem-solving and learn how to retrieve research literature from library resources.

At the end of the module, students will be able to use an extended range of laboratory equipment and practical techniques current to biochemistry, molecular and cellular biology and microbiology and be proficient in the design of simple controlled experiments and in the recording, analysis and interpretation of a variety of experimental data. Students should have a sound platform on which to base their final year projects.

Students will also be able to demonstrate a good understanding of the approaches used to study biochemical microbiological and molecular processes, and be proficient in the handling of numerical data and simple mathematical transformations thereof that are commensurate with skills required of undergraduates at Level 2.

Skills outcomes
- Computer and bioinformatic skills
- Data interpretation
- Data and research paper evaluation
- Managing knowledge
- Practical laboratory skills
- Problem solving
- Recording practical data - lab book management
- Report writing.


Students participate in linked tutorials and practical sessions that cover a broad range of microbiology skills, including research skills.
- The practicals include hands-on experience in molecular and medical virology (cell infection, virus handling, purification/analysis of proteins and RNA, antibody staining and gel electrophoresis and DNA restriction methods), molecular and medical bacteriology (antibiotic susceptibility testing, bacteriophages, PCR amplification, testing for virulence factors, cell staining and microscopy, and tracer methods), and medical immunology (hypersensitivity studies, flow cytometry).
- Experience in bioinformatic methods is provided through a computer cluster session.
- Tutorial topics may relate to accompanying practicals, providing background information and knowledge in preparation for practical sessions, and/or provide new skills including critical evaluation of a research paper, analysis of experimental data in problem-solving exercises, research literature retrieval from library resources and statistical methods.
- Important aims of the course are to acquaint students with tools used in microbiological research and to reinforce skills in aseptic technique.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours347.00
Total Contact hours53.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)400.00

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

- Semester 1 tutorials delivered online.
- Semester 1 GFP practical classes converted to online data handling exercises with video content and integrated group work.
- Semester 2: Core practical microbiology classes to ensure sufficient training in molecular biology/virology/medical microbiology.
- online assessments to monitor progress.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Practical ReportFormative report0.00
In-course Assessment3 x online data handling exercises: Lazy DNA research, data analysis & statistical methods, bioinformatics problem solving exercise20.00
PracticalOnline bacterial practical assessment5.00
In-course Assessment2 page end of unit report12.50
In-course Assessment2 page end of unit report12.50
EssayData interpretation and research (2000 words)20.00
Oral Presentation10 minute individual presentation online5.00
Practical ReportSummative report of practical exercise25.00
In-course AssessmentCV and Personal statement0.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Tutorial and practical assessments for Semester 1 are to be delivered online.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 29/04/2022 15:27:34


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