This course requires you to complete the following core modules:
Introduction to Medical Microbiology
You will gain the necessary foundations in medical microbiology through this introductory module, through studying the properties and host range of various micro-organisms involved in infection, as well as the development of appropriate immune responses.
Core Research Methods: Transferable Skills
You will gain an understanding of how to plan, prepare and execute research in the field of molecular biology, microbiology immunology and genetics. As well as learning how to manage the various stages of research projects, you will gain experience presenting research data and preparing publications. This module will also enhance your ability to critically assess published literature and analyse data.
An overview of the major bacterial, fungal and parasitic human pathogens of clinical importance is provided on this module.
Pathogens covered may include: Campylobacter jejuni; Legionella pneumophila; Staphylococcus aureus; Helicobacter pylori; Anaerobes of Clinical Importance; Coagulase negative Staphylococci; Haemophilus spp.; Listeria monocytogenes; Burkholderia and Stenotrophomonas; Pseudomonas aeruginosa; Yeast and yeast-like fungi; Filamentous and dimorphic fungi; Vibrionacea; Pathogenic Neisseria Spp.; Streptococcus pneumoniae; Group A Streptococci; Mycobacterium tuberculosis and atypical mycobacteria; Enterococcus; Escherichia coli; Enterobacteriaceae; Leishmania and Trypanosoma; Protozoa (Intestinal, Toxoplasma, Trichomonads and Amoebae); Bacillus Spp.
Viral Pathogenesis and Infections
This module illustrates how viruses interact with cells, what are the underlying molecular mechanisms of infection and replication, and how these interactions lead to clinical disease.
Prevention and Treatment of Infections
This module facilitates an understanding of antimicrobial therapies for the control of infection and disease – encompassing the study of the action of specific antimicrobial compounds, mechanisms of resistance and the development of preventative and therapeutic vaccines.
On this 60 credit module you will design and execute a research programme – performing experiments, surveys, analysing data and undertaking other research activities aimed at solving a specific biomedical problem in the subject area you are studying. You will discuss the research project with your academic supervisor before the project begins.
As well as gaining the technical and project management skills required for contemporary research, you will develop the ability to write scientific texts through producing a dissertation based on your research findings. This report is discussed with academic staff during an oral examination.
The topic and form of project may vary from laboratory-based work, bioinformatics or extended literature reviews, depending on the expertise of our academic staff and which course you are enrolled on.
In addition, you will be able to choose from one of the following groups of optional modules:
Bacterial Pathogenesis and Infections
This introductory module will enable you to obtain practical experience in using bioinformatics software available for the analysis of genomic, transcriptomic and proteomic data.
The module is taught using a combination of lectures and practical sessions. You are required to produce a poster for assessment which includes information gathered from online databases about a particular gene or disease.
Applied Molecular Microbiology
This module provides you with the opportunity to gain an understanding of the theory and potential applications of molecular biological techniques in diagnostic and research microbiology. This is achieved via a series of problem-based learning activities.
Core Research Methods: Molecular Techniques
During these practical laboratory sessions, you will gain experience of standard techniques related to laboratory research in the fields of immunology, microbiology and molecular genetics. From this, you will appreciate the workflow of gene cloning, followed by sequence analysis of genes and their variability, as well as cloning and expression of recombinant proteins.
Clinical Syndromes in Infectious Disease
You will develop the ability to apply a clinical syndrome-focused view of important infectious diseases. This module is delivered primarily using lectures on clinical and scientific aspects of: bacterial, fungal and parasitic infections; management of infectious diseases; organ-based microbiology; management of the laboratory service and the management of human and financial resources.
Content includes: respiratory infections; anaerobes of clinical importance; bone and joint infections; STDs; pathogenesis of foodborne bacterial diseases; infections of travellers and rickettsiae; epidemiological, clinical and laboratory aspects of pneumonia due to atypical pathogens; cystic fibrosis; malaria; endocarditis and HACEK; septicaemia and bacteraemia; blood cultures; skin and soft tissue infection; central nervous system infections; UTIs; pyrexia of unknown origin; and infection in the immunocompromised host.
Diagnostic Microbiology and Laboratory Methods
Through practical sessions, you will gain an understanding of conventional and molecular methods applied in routine and specialised laboratories – for the diagnosis of bacterial, fungal and parasitic infections. You will study diagnostic microbiology, from specimen to final report: blood, cerebro-spinal fluid, respiratory, enteric, urinary and other tissue specimens.
Specimens from sterile sites and agar-based detection methods, such as molecular diagnostics and antibiotic sensitivity testing, are also covered by this module.
Infection Control and Public Health
This module examines aspects of:
- hospital infection control including: infection control team; infection control manual; sterilisation and dis-infection; surveillance and antibiotic policy
- alert organisms including MRSA, vancomycin-resistant enterococcus and multi-drug resistant bacteria, such as gram negatives and mycobacteria
- epidemiology and public health, as well as the management of natural, man-made or deliberate outbreaks in the community
- national and regional bodies and their roles, such as: the Health Protection Agency – with special reference to HPUS – the Centre for Infections, reference laboratories, Strategic Health Authorities, Primary Care Trusts, local authorities and Public Health.
- health professionals and their roles: Consultant in Communicable Disease Control, Health Protection Specialist, regional epidemiologists, district nurses, school nurses, environmental health officers
- reference facilities and their uses – through practical sessions on typing schemes, water and environmental microbiology, as well as antibiotic resistance monitoring
We provide some background material for students to look at prior to starting the course, to make sure that everyone is starting off from a similar level of knowledge. This material is delivered online, with quizzes that enable self-testing. The same software is used throughout the course to provide additional learning material.
The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. This list is an example of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.