Here is a brief description of the Microbiology and Immunology course as I last taught it. I am preparing a course change proposal in the Fall of 2018 that will dramatically alter this class. In the future, I hope to focus exclusively upon immunology and microbial virulence. Watch this sites for changes as they occur.

Catalog Description

Fundamentals of the microbial world with emphasis on the medical aspects of microbiology, molecular basis of pathogenicity, chemotherapy, and the role of humoral and cellular immune responses in host protection and hypersensitivity. The laboratory provides practical experiences with fundamental concepts, techniques and instrumentation. Designed for students in science baccalaureate degree programs. A prior course in biochemistry is also required.

Typically Offered: Spring, Summer


BIOL 322 with a grade of C- or better and CHEM 321 or CHEM 214 with a grade of C- or better.

Required Materials

  • Textbooks: Brock: Biology of Microorganisms, Madigan and Martinko. Pearson Prentice Hall
    Mechanisms of Microbial Disease, Schaechter,, Lippincott Williams Wilkins
    Kuby Immunology, Kindt, Goldsby and Osborne, W.H. Freeman and Co.

  • Lab notebook: We will be using the hardcover Student Laboratory Notebook published by the American Society for Microbiology Press, 2005. (ISBN 1-55581- 358-5)

  • Other materials: We will be using an online clicker system in class this semester (Socrative). You can use any internet capable device to interface. Free apps are available for iOS, Google, and Android. A cloth lab coat, a Sharpie™ and access to a digital camera (e.g. iPhone, android phone will be required for lab. Other optional materials include a scientific calculator, a USB flash drive, and a wax pencil for the laboratory.

Course-Specific Learning Outcomes

There are several course-specific outcomes for students in this class. Some of these will be addressed in lecture, others in laboratory, and yet others in both. By the conclusion of this course, successful students should be able to:

  1. Microbial Diversity - Give examples of and compare and contrast different types of microbial cells (including viruses, bacteria, fungi, and protozoa). Identify cell structures and define their functions.
    Assessed via laboratory and online quizzes or reports, questions from lecture exam 1, the laboratory practical, and the comprehensive final exam.

  2. Immunity - Differentiate between the innate, humoral, and cellular defenses and identify points of interaction. Explain how inappropriate immune responses can result in host damage. Compare the different interactions possible between host and microbial cells. Describe several different molecular strategies employed by microbial pathogens and give several specific examples of each.
    Assessed via laboratory and online quizzes or reports, questions from lecture exam 2, the laboratory practical, and the comprehensive final exam.

  3. Pathogenesis – Compare and contrast virulence strategies employed by different microbes that cause human diseases. Identify and characterize important microbial pathogens of humans and the diseases that they cause. Evaluate possible measures to treat or prevent infections by various microbial pathogens.
    Assessed via laboratory and online quizzes or reports, questions from the laboratory practical, and the comprehensive final exam.

  4. Laboratory Techniques - Correctly perform proper laboratory skills and display a habit of good laboratory practices that extend to your everyday life. Perform simple and differential stains on isolates and properly use compound light microscopes to visualize and describe microbial cell morphologies.
    Assessed via laboratory quizzes and notebook entries, and the laboratory practical.

  5. Critical Thinking - Accurately follow instructions and collect data based upon observations from laboratory exercises or clinical case studies. Plot data when appropriate and interpret any trends. Make inferences and predictions based upon the interpretations.
    Assessed via laboratory and online quizzes, laboratory notebook entries, and the laboratory practical.

  6. Communication - Demonstrate an ability to work in group settings and exchange ideas concerning course-related topics. Read, write, and speak about Microbiology with classmates and members of the community.
    Assessed via short microbiology papers.

  7. Metacognition - Articulate preferences and dislikes (strengths and weaknesses) for learning new and complex information. Adopt new learning strategies to improve retention of information and comprehension of the course materials.
    Assessed via post-exam bonus assignments, feedback during office hours, and occasional class surveys.

Sample Syllabus

A copy of a recent syllabus for this course (which outlines the class policies and describes all graded materials) can be accessed as a PDF file. You may use this document to gauge how I approach the course topics and assess student learning. Nota bene: future syllabi (or those from other instructors of this course) may differ substantially.

On-line Course Materials

This class is taught as a web-enhanced course using our course management system, Blackboard. A variety of resources that are required to complete many of the assignments that are due this semester are only available on-line. My couse site contains many different resources to aid in your efforts to learn about microbiology. These include:

  • A PDF copy of the current course syllabus.

  • A posting of all course announcements

  • Additional course materials for lecture and lab. This section includes PDF copies of the lecture slides for your note-taking convenience, HTML lecture study guides, sentence outlines, interactive copies of the slides, puzzles for studying, and links to additional information on the internet.

  • A calendar of all course assignments and deadlines.

  • Detailed assignment descriptions with scoring rubrics and due dates.

  • Quizzes for class credit and also for practice.

  • On-line access to your course grades.

  • E-mail and chat interfaces to contact me about the class.

  • A bulletin board for on-line class discussions. We will use this for the Microbes in the News and research poster assignments as well for answering any questions or comments that you might post.

  • An extensive glossary of terms used during the semester. These will be linked to other pages with in the site.

  • A search tool to allow you to find material in the site.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, comments, or concerns about this course. Thanks!

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