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Microbiology (not available by distance learning)

Key information

Duration: Duration times vary. Use the contact details below to enquire about this.

Location: Aston University, Birmingham

Fee: £1000 per delegate

To register: Please complete this registration form. The Biomedical Science top-up modules are for people who have a science degree but wish to pursue a career as a Biomedical Scientist. Prior to registering for any top-up modules you need to contact the Institute of Biomedical Science for advice about which modules you require:

Telephone: + 44 (0)20 7713 0214 or email: mail@ibms.org

Further information: Contact Caroline Brocklebank at c.brocklebank@aston.ac.uk or telephone 0121 204 4154.

Aims of this module

The aim of this course is to introduce the subject of bacteriology, to demonstrate the importance of bacteria in human infection, to describe the methods used to isolate and identify bacteria causing infection and to select appropriate antibiotics for the treatment of infections.

Module content

  • Lecture 1: Introduction - Historical perceptive of the origins of microbiology.  The contributions of Van Leeuwenhoek, Pasteur, Lister and Koch.  Koch’s postulates: the proof of a causal relationship between an organism and a disease, some modern examples, gastritis (Helicobacter pylori) and BSE/CJD.
  • Lecture 2: Observing microbes, functional anatomy - Methods for observing microbes, the appearance of microbes, basic nomenclature based on structure and major components of bacteria.
  • Lectures 3/4: Function of major bacterial components - Cell wall, capsule, flagella, fimbriae, spores, exotoxins, the role of these components in microbial pathogenicity.
  • Lecture 5: Mycobacteria - A brief outline of this group of bacteria and their particular properties and the diseases they cause.
  • Lecture 6: Microbial growth - Total and viable counts, factors affecting microbial growth (temperature, pH, oxygen, nutrients etc,) and the design of culture media and the isolation of pure cultures.
  • Lecture 7: Clinical microbiology - Isolation and identification of organisms causing infections and manual and automated methods.
  • Lecture 8: Antibiotics - The major classes of antibiotics, their mechanism of action, antibiotic sensitivity of clinical isolates and choice of antibiotics in clinical microbiology.
  • Lectures 9 and 10: Bacterial diseases of humans - The major microbial diseases and their routes of transmission, i.e. airborne, direct contact, food and water-borne diseases.

Practical course (15 hours)


The practical element of the course gives students a clear indication of how these practicals illustrate and amplify lecture material.  Five 3 hour practicals explore a variety of aspects which contribute to the activity and pathogenicity of microorganisms, in particular bacteria:
  1. Ability of microbes to survive environment variably
  2. Bacterial characteristics which allow them to infect, colonise and proliferate in host tissue
  3. Host defences
  4. Identification of bacteria
  5. Mode of action and effectiveness of antibiotics.

Employable Graduates; Exploitable Research