SHE Level 3
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code M3C526364
Module Leader Janice Spencer
School School of Health and Life Sciences
Subject Biological and Biomedical Sciences
  • A (September start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

M2C526397 Introduction to Microbiology (SCQF 8) or equivalent

Summary of Content

This module aims to provide a firm understanding of the principles and practice of clinical microbiology; principally bacteriology and virology. Taught lectures and interactive tutorials will introduce the theory of infectious disease whilst laboratory classes cover the standard methodologies and concepts applied in the diagnosis of infection, and their safe practice.


-685 L ): Lectures (24 Hours) The clinical laboratory - diagnostics: Safety in the laboratory and the categorisation of microbial pathogens (hazard groups and containment levels, microbial safety cabinets). Principles of specimen collection and transport. Principles of laboratory examination including techniques relevant to the micro-organism. Update on current molecular and serological methods employed in bench side and clinical laboratory testing. Laboratory acquired infections. Diagnosis of infection by body system: The clinical manifestation of infection in selected body systems to include the respiratory tract, urinary tract, genital tract, gastrointestinal tract, central nervous system, cardiovascular system and skin and soft tissue. Transmission of infection, clinical features, risk factors, and pathogens of disease at each site. Bacterial, viral, fungal and parasitic aetiology of infection of each body system. Detailed analysis of selected causative genera (including, as examples Staphylococcus, Streptococcus , Enterobacteriaceae, Clostridium, Neisseria , Pseudomonas, Haemophilus) . Specimen collection and methods for processing samples from these sites. Laboratory diagnosis of microbiological infections; methods for the isolation and identification of the causative organism. Interpretation of the results and clinical assessment of significance. Viral infections of Clinical Relevance: Clinical presentation, transmission, diagnosis, treatment and prevention and epidemiology of relevant viral infections will be covered. In particular, the knowledge base will include detail of infections with papillomavirus, respiratory and bloodborne viruses. Viruses which cause congenital disorders will also be included and detail on their epidemiology, transmission and clinical disorder provided. In addition, current vaccination guidelines and procedures in the UK and Europe will be discussed. Infections of specific patient groups: Infections of the immunocompromised host including the type of immunodeficiency and subsequent associated clinical infections. Opportunistic pathogens and examples of causative organisms and their diagnosis. Health care-related infection including common healthcare-related infections and their causes. Sources and routes of transmission. Investigation of healthcare-related infection and methods for their prevention. Antibiotics: Treatment of infection. Principles of antimicrobial therapy. Antibiotic assays. Therapeutic drug monitoring. Epidemiology: Interpretation of epidemiological data. Methods for the prevention and control of infectious disease. -685 2) Tutorials (5 hours): A series of tutorials will support lecture and practical laboratory class topics. These will include guidance on the VLE session, cases studies and practical data interpretation exercises with worked examples. -685 3) Practical Laboratory Classes (7 labs; 21 hours): Diagnostic bacteriology: Methods for the isolation, identification and interpretation of the clinical significance of potential bacterial and fungal pathogens from simulated clinical samples. Interpretation of results. Antibiotic assays: Methods for the evaluation of antibiotic susceptibility and therapeutic drug monitoring. Interpretation of results. Diagnostic virology: A molecular method is used to determine the diagnosis of the viral agent responsible for a proposed viral infection using simulated clinical samples. Knowledge of differential diagnosis and an understanding of the kinetics of viral infection are utilised to interpret the laboratory findings and to critically evaluate the methods used.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, the student should be able to:1. Demonstrate an understanding of the principles and practice of diagnostic microbiology in a clinical laboratory.2. Demonstrate knowledge of selected bacterial and viral pathogens of medical importance.3. Recognise the principles of antimicrobial therapy.4. Employ competently and aseptically a range of microbiological techniques in the laboratory.5. Demonstrate an understanding of the principles of epidemiology and control of infectious disease.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

Students will be taught by lecture presentation (including 2 h of lecture material delivered by a student centred learning package through the VLE, GCULearn). The lecture programme will be supported by laboratory classes designed to give practical experience in clinical microbiology; principally bacteriology and virology. Supplementary practical lab teaching material is available on GCULearn; for example photographic images of Gram stained bacteria and organism growth on agar plates, short videos to explain a technique and, links to web pages providing additional supporting information (eg CDC). Interactive tutorial sessions will support student learning through the analysis of case studies and interpretation of clinical data. Self-directed learning will be in the form of learning packages covering aspects out with the lecture programme and delivered through GCULearn; for example on-line formative quizzes, case studies, and additional references.

Indicative Reading

Recommended course text: Kasper DL and Fauci AS (2013). Harrison's Infectious Diseases (2 nd edition). McGraw-Hill Medical. Ford, M (2014). Medical Microbiology (2 nd edition). Fundamentals of Biomedical Science. Oxford University Press. Additional suggested texts: Murray PR et al. (2012). Medical Microbiology (7 th edition). Saunders. Greenwood D et al. (20012). Medical Microbiology; a Guide to Microbial Infections: Pathogenesis, Immunity, Laboratory Diagnosis and Control (18 th edition). Churchill Livingstone. Bennett JE and Dolin R (2014). Mandell, Douglas and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Disease - 2 volumes (8 th edition). Elesvier. Richman DD et al. (2009). Clinical Virology (3 rd edition). ASM Press. Collier LH and Oxford J (2011). Human Virology (4 th edition). Oxford University Press. Zuckerman AJ and Banatvala JE (2009). Principles and Practice of Clinical Virology (6 th edition). Wiley.

Transferrable Skills

The student's personal transferable skills should be developed in the following areas: Communication skills: written coursework assessments and laboratory reports; oral discussions during tutorials. Analytical skills: interpretation of experimental data and data analysis exercises, review and critical analysis of published data, completion of case studies. IT skills: use of computers for word processing and use of spreadsheets in the preparation of coursework, information retrieval from library and electronic sources, use on on-line (via GCULearn interactive learning packages). Interpersonal skills: team work during practical laboratories. Independent study skills: independent learning via supervised assessments and SCL packages. Time management and organisational skills: co-ordination of laboratory experiments in practical lab classes.

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Practicals (FT) 21.00
Assessment (FT) 20.00
Independent Learning (FT) 130.00
Lectures (FT) 24.00
Tutorials (FT) 5.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Exam (Dept) 01 2.00 40.00 35% Practical Laboratory Assessment: safe and appropriate investigation of laboratory samples and interpretation and analysis of the results
Exam 01 2.00 60.00 35% Unseen, written exam: essay/case study questions and short notes