Medical Microbiology

Module code: MB2020

Module co-ordinator: Dr Galina Mukamolova

Module Aims

The aims of this module are to provide the essential knowledge on the biology of major pathogens and their interactions with hosts; to cover the mechanisms of microbial diseases and virulence factors and to explain the main means for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of microbial diseases.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the module students should be able to:

  • Describe the basic principles of microbial diagnostics
  • Know the characteristics of major human pathogens and explain how they adapt to different environments
  • Describe major infectious diseases and name corresponding causative agents
  • List major antimicrobials used for treatment of infectious diseases
  • Explain important directions of public health microbiology
  • Describe major areas of preventive treatment
  • Conduct simple experiments for identification and characterisation of micro-organisms of medical importance

Module Description

This module will cover the biology of pathogens causing major infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis, cholera, diphtheria, syphilis and others. Special attention will be paid to virulence factors, stress response, mechanisms of adaptation to the in vivo environment and host-pathogen interactions. The module will also include sections on the diagnostics, prophylaxis and treatment of major infectious diseases.

Lecture Topics

  1. Introductory lectures will be aimed to explain medical aspects of infectious diseases, modern tools for diagnostics and treatment of infectious diseases and a concept of virulence factors.
  2. Two lectures will focus on the biology of fungi and their importance as causative agents of infectious diseases
  3. The major block of lectures (19) will cover Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, causative agents of infectious diseases:
    1. Firmicutes: clostridia; Listeria; Staphylococcus and Streptococcus
    2. Mollicutes: Mycoplasma
    3. Actinobacteria: corynebacteria and mycobacteria
    4. Proteobacteria: Haemophilus, Bordetella, Neisseria, Legionella; Pseudomonas; Vibrio cholerae, Salmonella, E. coli, Campylobacter, Helicobacter pylori
    5. Spirochaetes 
  4. The course will be concluded with two lectures on prophylaxis and vaccination and human systems and pathogens.


Practical sessions will provide training in general handling of microorganisms, methodology for determination of bacterial viability and susceptibility to antimicrobial agents; an introduction to molecular techniques for bacterial isolation from clinical samples and identification. A bioinformatics workshop will provide a basic knowledge on sequence analysis and alignment.

Case Studies

One case study session will be focused on the medical aspects of major infectious diseases, their symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.

Library Skills Sessions

Three sessions will be aimed to improve the library skills of students and to introduce approaches for literature analysis.


Two tutorials will include Medical Microbiology quiz and exam preparation session.


  • Examination (three hours): 70%
  • Continuous assessment: 30%, consisting of an essay (15%) and a practical book (15%)

Recommended Books

Engleberg, N.G., Dermody, T. and DiRita, V. (2012). Schaechter's Mechanisms of Microbial Disease, (5th edition), published by Lippincott Williams and Wilkins. ISBN 978-0781787444.

Lydyard, P. et al, (2009). Case Studies in Infectious Disease, published by Garland Science. ISBN 978-0815341420.

Wilson, B.A. et al, (2010). Bacterial Pathogenesis: A Molecular Approach, (3rd edition), published by the American Society for Microbiology. ISBN 978-1555814182.

Prerequisite For

MB3020 - Advanced Topics in Medical Microbiology.