Microbiology and Cell Biology

Module code: BS1040

Module co-ordinator: Dr Shaun Heaphy

This module will introduce you to the nature, relatedness, similarities and differences of known life on earth. You will study eukaryotic cell biology, microbial form and function and the techniques used to study microorganisms (including viruses) and eukaryotic cells. We will also consider the role of microorganisms in the biosphere, including microbial involvement following on from the origin of life on the early Earth.

Topics covered

  • Basic structure and function of cells and cellular organelles
  • Cell division, mitosis and meiosis in unicellular and multicellular organisms
  • Conceptual advances that have led to the development of cell biology and microbiology as overlapping disciplines
  • Diversity of life on earth including similarities/differences in structures and replication between viruses and other subcellular infectious agents, archaea, bacteria, unicellular and multicellular microbial eukaryotes
  • Principles of energy generation from light or chemical bond energy
  • Pprinciples of systematics and classification, especially as they apply to micro-organisms
  • Genomics
  • How microorganisms cause disease
  • Use of microorganisms in industry and biotechnology
  • Involvement of microorganisms in geo-microbiological process such as the C and N cycles
  • Techniques for studying and handling cells and micro-organisms


  • 45 one-hour lectures
  • 9 three-hour practicals
  • 4 one-hour tutorials


  • Exam, 2 hours (60%)
  • Essay (15%)
  • Course practical book and associated skills tests (25%)