Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Microbial Pathogenesis
Academic Year
Semester 2
Reading List
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Bacterial Pathogenesis workshop.  20%
Semester Assessment Fungal Pathogenesis workshop.  20%
Semester Exam 3 Hours   60%
Supplementary Assessment Students must take elements of assessment equivalent to those that led to failure of the module.  40%
Supplementary Exam 3 Hours   Students must take elements of assessment equivalent to those that led to failure of the module.  60%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Compare and contrast the variety of disease causing mechanisms associated with viral, bacteria, fungal and oomycete pathogens.

2. Critically evaluate the attempts and strategies to control disease.

3. Differentiate the progress of modern molecular biology technologies to a) increase understanding of the host-pathogen relationships b) improve disease diagnosis and c) develop high through put drug discovery strategies.

Brief description

The concept of disease resulting from attack from microbial organism is an important aspect of clinical and veterinary medicine as well as agriculture. The module develops the students understanding of what is required for organisms to become pathogens i) the ability to exploit nutrients from a host; ii) to avoid or suppress host defences, iii) to proliferate and iv) to be dispersed to other hosts to reinitiate the infection cycle. In becoming pathogenic the requirement to exhibit host specificity will be explored. The association between symptoms and pathogenic mechanisms will be discussed. The subject will be studied through a series of case studies of examples of viral, bacterial, fungal and oomycete pathogens (but not parasites which will be considered in another module) as they infect human, animal and plant hosts. Mechanisms of disease control will be explored in each case stud focusing on ? as relevant - public hygiene, drug treatment, vaccination, agricultural practice or plant breeding.


The lectures will cover the following topics
  • Pathogenesis and host responses to infection
  • Epidemiology
  • Viral pathogenic characteristics, cell susceptibility, cellular response to infection, immune response, latent infections, vaccination
  • Case Study: Human Immunodeficiency virus
  • Case Study: Influenza.
  • Aspects of bacteria and health.
  • Virulence factors;
  • Antibiotics (modes of action, spectrum of activity, some pharmacology) antibiotic resistance, emerging infections/spread of resistant organisms.
  • Major bacterial infections of human systems: respiratory tract/ GI tract/ urinary infections /sexually transmitted diseases).
  • Case Study: Human and Bovine Tuberculosis
  • Plant Diseases: Pathogenesis and host responses to infection
  • Developing resistant crops
  • Case Study: Rice Blast
  • Case Study: Tobacco Mosaic Virus
  • Case Study: Potato Blight
  • Emerging Diseases and Bioterrorism

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Students will have opportunity to collect and interpret data in practical classes with respect to quality and quantity. Feedback on this will be provided with the returned assignment.
Communication Students will develop effective listening skills for the lectures and subsequent discussion in practical classes. Students will develop effective written communication skills in practical class write-ups. Feedback on this will be provided with returned assignment.
Improving own Learning and Performance Student's ability to devise and monitor time management, learning and performance skills throughout module via attending lectures and practical classes. The directed study elements provided in the module will specifically allow students to explore their own learning styles/ preferences, and identify their own needs and barriers to successful learning
Information Technology Students will develop skills in accessing the web for information sources and using databases to find primary research literature
Personal Development and Career planning
Problem solving Students will develop skills in lectures, practical classes in differentiating methods for disease resistance (for safety reasons, focusing only on plant pathogens) Practicals will be designed to allow students to gain experience in designing, executing, interpreting data and writing-up actual experiments. Feedback on will be provided with the returned assignment.
Research skills Practical classes will be employ careful observation and recording, the critical evaluation of data and the design of further experimentation. Feedback will be provided with returned assignments.
Subject Specific Skills
Team work


This module is at CQFW Level 6