Module details for Medical Microbiology


This module is designed to give students a broad understanding of microbiological principles related to microbes associated with human disease, diagnosis and treatment.


The aim of this Module is to provide the student with an understanding of microbial growth and microbial diseases of humans. Students will gain knowledge of microbial characteristics, clinical diagnosis, epidemiology, pathogenesis and control of such infectious diseases.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module the student should be able to:

1.  Understand and explain contemporary theories of microbial growth, metabolism, differentiation and motility. 

2.  Evaluate the factors that are involved with the epidemiology, pathogenesis, detection, diagnosis and control of infectious diseases (including antibiotics, vaccines and antibody therapies).

3.  Analyse and discuss the results of practical experiments in an area related to disease epidemiology and/or control, or antibiotic sensitivity testing. 

4.  Evaluate drug strategies for the control of infectious diseases and the current problems associated with the development of drug resistance. 

Indicative Content

1 Microbial Growth, Reproduction and Motility

The microbial (bacterial) growth curve and it's phases. Prokaryotic cell cycle. Phenomena associated with the growth curve (e.g. incorporation of peptidoglycan, overlapping chromosome replication etc.). Microbial metabolism. True turning point. Dormancy. Stringent response. Endosporulation. Chemotaxis, Individual motility. Community motility. Biofilm structure & function, bacterial conjugation, transformation & transduction

2 Bacterial diseases

Clinically important taxonomic groups of bacteria and viruses. Types of clinical specimens and processes for isolation and identification of organisms. Immunological and molecular systems for specific diagnosis. Clinical characteristics of diseases. Factors affecting clinical diagnosis including. Preventative strategies and therapies.  Microbial determinants of pathogenicity and virulence. Mechanisms of cell & tissue damage. Role of biochemical changes in diagnosis and monitoring of disease.

3 Antimicrobial chemotherapy and drug resistance

Modes of action of major synthetic and natural antibiotics. Antibiotic sensitivity testing in clinical laboratories. MIC values. Significance for therapeutic control in hospitals. Mechanisms of drug resistance in micro-organisms. Limitations of current drugs and novel development strategies. Qualitative and quantitative methods to identify antibiotic sensitivity of medically important organisms. 

4 Epidemiology and Public Health Measures

Transmission routes of disease agents - reservoirs, portals of entry, noscomial infections. Epidemiology - epidemics, pandemics, and endemic disease. Practical study of factors affecting epidemiology of diseases. Public health control methods - Vaccination, Sewage/Water treatment, legislation, public information etc. 

Teaching and Learning Work Loads

Teaching and Learning Method Hours
Lecture 24
Tutorial/Seminar 7
Practical Activity 12
Assessment 50
Independent 107
Total 200

Guidance notes

SCQF Level - The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework provides an indication of the complexity of award qualifications and associated learning and operates on an ascending numeric scale from Levels 1-12 with SCQF Level 10 equating to a Scottish undergraduate Honours degree.

Credit Value – The total value of SCQF credits for the module. 20 credits are the equivalent of 10 ECTS credits. A full-time student should normally register for 60 SCQF credits per semester.


We make every effort to ensure that the information on our website is accurate but it is possible that some changes may occur prior to the academic year of entry. The modules listed in this catalogue are offered subject to availability during academic year 2021/22 , and may be subject to change for future years.