Coronavirus (Covid-19) Information

Module MSE-3014:
Microbiology & Human Disease

Module Facts

Run by School of Medical Sciences

10 Credits or 5 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Mr Merf Williams

Overall aims and purpose

This module aims to expand upon the specialist medical microbiology knowledge a student has gained over the preceding two years.

Course content

The module discusses the role of the Medical Microbiology Laboratory in infectious disease diagnosis. The topics of sterilisation, disinfection and aseptic technique will be examined and their role in establishing and maintaining a safe working environment. The concept of the Normal flora will be studied together with its role in disease and factors affecting microbial pathogenesis. Clinically significant micro-organisms involved in infectious disease of all major and minor organ systems will be addressed, together with the host's defence against infection and the increased susceptibility of the immune compromised host. The principles and mode of action of classes of chemotherapeutic agents, the efficacy of antibiotics in the host and techniques used to measure antibiotic susceptibility in vitro will be examined, including the problem of health care associated infections, antibiotic resistance and cross infection. The microbiology of food and water and the role of the environment in infectious diseases will be considered. Techniques used to detect and identify micro-organisms including microscopy, culture, serology, gene amplification and recent automated methods will be described. Case study scenarios will be followed up in a practical laboratory setting with students expected to identify given cultures of bacteria as far as possible and to build on their experiences from second year.

Assessment Criteria


Category A (70%-100%):

An excellent student should be able to demonstrate the skills necessary for self-managed and lifelong learning (working independently, time management and organisation) and have a detailed in depth knowledge of all aspects of the module. Written answers should have an extremely high standard of presentation, structure and clarity with a very well argued coverage of accurate and relevant information. In practicals, the student in addition to demonstrating critical appreciation of the strengths and weaknesses of the experimental procedure and their theoretical background and obtain and interpret high-quality results must show extensive background reading of current relevant information. Evidence of extra reading and critical anlysis required for the higher A categories.


Category B (60%-69%):

A good student should have a thorough factual knowledge across all aspects of the module, and be able to detail examples where appropriate. Written answers should demonstrate an ability to critically synthesise lecture material and information from background reading. In practicals, the student must demonstrate critical appreciation of the strengths and weaknesses of the experimental procedure and their theoretical background and obtain and interpret high-quality results.


Category D (40%-49%):

A threshold student should have a basic knowledge of the essential facts and key concepts in medical microbiology presented in this module. Written answers should demonstrate an ability to organise relevant lecture material into a coherent argument For the practical report, the student must demonstrate a basic understanding of the aims and objectives of the experiment and be able to present and interpret the data in a satisfactory manner.

C- to C+

Category C (50%-59%):

A less engaged student would have a correct knowledge across most aspects of the module, and may not be able to provide all the required detail examples where appropriate. Written answers should demonstrate an ability to synthesise lecture material. No evidence of background reading. In practicals, the student should be able to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the experimental procedure and their theoretical background and obtain and interpret the results. The interpretation may reveal knowledge gaps and/or misunderstandings.

Learning outcomes

  1. Demonstrate an ability to follow experimental procedures (SOPs) for the laboratory investigation of disease with interpretation and discussion in a written report

  2. Acquire an understanding of the principles and wider applications of techniques used to detect and identify a variety of disease causing micro-organisms, including safety procedures.

  3. Critically evaluate the use of anti-microbial products in controlling micro-organisms and discuss the mechanisms of action and development of resistance.

  4. Critically discuss the pathogenicity and epidemiology of selected medically important micro-Organisms including the resulting host reactions and selected treatments strategies.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Practical report 30
Final module exam 70

Teaching and Learning Strategy


10 x 2hr weekly Interactive lectures

Practical classes and workshops

Practical sessions of 6 hours duration in the C4 (Cat II) Laboratory. The first part is a demonstration/practice session prior to the assessed practical.


Revision for final exam

Private study

Directed and self-directed reading from various sources of information to supplement lecture material. Write a practical report. Revision for final exam.


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Safety-Consciousness - Having an awareness of your immediate environment, and confidence in adhering to health and safety regulations
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

Biomedical Science benchmarks:

The programme aims to give students a comprehension of scientific investigation of medical microbiology. (benchmarks: 5.1; 5.3; 5.5)

On successful completion of the course, students will be able to engage with essential facts, major concepts, principles and theories associated with medical microbiology and understand the biological mechanisms underlying human pathological conditions and the basis of the analytical techniques used to diagnose and monitor these conditions. (benchmark: 6.4)

Graduates will be able to apply their knowledge to a professional, evidence-based approach to research into the pathogenesis and origins of disease processes. (benchmark: 6.2)

Biomedical science graduates are aware of the current laboratory methods to investigate and diagnose human diseases in clinical and research environments. This includes an appreciation of research and the development of new technologies. (benchmark: 6.3)

Biomedical sciences graduates should recognise and apply subject-specific theories, paradigms, concepts or principles to reach evidence-based decisions. (benchmark: 4.2)

To be able to receive and respond to a variety of sources of information (textual, numerical, verbal, graphical), carry out sample selection, produce record scientific records & analyse data within a statistical context (an understanding of statistical significance and statistical power), and to communicate the outcomes to a variety of audiences using a range of formats, media and approaches including the avoidance of plagiarism. (benchmark: 4.4; 4.5)

Graduates should develop the skills necessary for self-managed and lifelong learning, have an appreciation for the role and impact of intellectual property, and identify and work towards targets for personal, academic, professional and career development. (benchmark: 4.7)