Env. Microbiol. and Biotech.
Environmental Microbiology and Biotechnology 2023-24
School of Environmental & Natural Sciences
Module - Semester 2
Lectures and lab tours (20 hours) The lecture content of this module introduces the student to the following key concepts in environmental microbiology and biotechnology: - Microbial phylogeny and physiological diversities of prokaryotes - The microbiology of extreme environments - An introduction to microbial ecology - Molecular tools used in microbial ecology - Industrial Biotechnology - Metagenomics - DNA sequencing technology - Microbial hydrocarbon degradation - Biogeochemical cycles - Microbial biodegradation - The industrial importance of cellulases - Second generation biofuel production from lignocellulosic biomass - Engineering microbiomes - Microbiomes in health and disease
You will also take a tour of the research labs of Dr. McDonald, Dr. Golyshina and Prof. Golyshin where you will hear about their ongoing research programmes and see the technologies used in this research, in addiiton to demonstrations of techniques and approaches.
Biotechnology start-up company exercise (24 hours; 6-hours of workshops, 4 x 4-hour practicals, 2-hour presentation session)
Students will conceive a (hypothetical) Biotechnology start-up company based on a topic of interest from the lecture content. Students will design and conduct experiments to generate preliminary data, prepare a scientific paper based on their companies research project, and present their ‘pitch’ to a panel of potential investors.
-threshold -(D) A threshold student should have a basic knowledge of the essential facts and key concepts of environmental microbiology and biotechnology, the diversity and physiology of microbial life forms and the potential to harvest physiological traits of microorganisms for use in biotechnological processes. The scientific paper, oral presentation and the exam essay will demonstrate the students ability to research and organise material from the lectures and text books into a coherent argument.
-good -(B) A good student should have a thorough factual knowledge across all aspects of environmental microbiology and biotechnology. The scientific paper, oral presentation and the exam essay should demonstrate an ability to think critically about the subject and to synthesise material not only from lectures, scientific literature and text books but also from a wider range of resources such as scientific articles, manuscripts, the media and online resources.
-excellent -(A) A very good student should have a detailed and conceptual knowledge of all aspects of environmental microbiology, the interaction of microorganisms with one another and with their environment; and the exploitation of microbes and microbial processes for use in the biotechnology industry. The scientific paper, oral presentation and the exam essay should demonstrate critical analysis, creative thinking and knowledge above the expected text book level, drawing upon information from a wider range of resources such as scientific articles, manuscripts, the media, online resources and other taught modules.
- Critically evaluate scientific literature and prepare a scientific manuscript based on the student-led group activity. (Biosciences benchmarks: 3.2 subject knowledge, 3.3 generic skills, 3.4 graduate and key skills, 3.5 intellectual skills, 3.6 practical skills, 3.7 information technology skills)
- Demonstrate a conceptual understanding of the adaptation and diversity of microbial life on Earth and their physiological role in key biological processes. (Biosciences benchmarks: 3.2 subject knowledge, 3.3 generic skills & 3.5 intellectual skills)
- Demonstrate an appreciation of the potential to harness microbial processes for biotechnological applications and a creative approach to the use of microorganisms in industry. (Biosciences benchmarks: 3.2 subject knowledge, 3.3 generic skills & 3.5 intellectual skills)
- Develop oral presentation skills as part of a group presentation to the class. (Biosciences benchmarks: 3.4 graduate and key skills, 3.7 information technology skills & 3.8 interpersonal and teamwork skills)
- Work effectively both as a member of a group and individually to complete the student-led group activity (Biotech start-up company). (Biosciences benchmarks: 3.2 subject knowledge, 3.3 generic skills, 3.4 graduate and key skills, 3.5 intellectual skills, 3.6 practical skills, 3.7 information technology skills, 3.8 interpersonal and teamwork skills & 3.9 self-management and professional development skills)
Written scientific proposal
Review and opinion article