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MMB8016 : Molecular Microbiology

  • Offered for Year: 2021/22
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Waldemar Vollmer
  • Lecturer: Dr Seamus Holden, Dr Richard Daniel, Professor Brendan Kenny, Professor Jeff Errington FRS, Dr Kevin Waldron, Professor Nikolay Zenkin, Dr Henrik Strahl von Schulten, Professor Heath Murray
  • Owning School: FMS Graduate School
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


The aim of this module is to provide an up to date understanding of how the use of model organisms representative of the diversity of the bacterial sub-kingdom are helping to elucidate central biological questions, such as the control and regulation of cell division and of gene expression. The module will comprise a series of lectures and seminars that discuss novel concepts within the field of molecular microbiology.

Outline Of Syllabus

Each interactive lecture will comprise a two-hour session

1. Module Introduction and seminar; Bacterial cell wall synthesis (Vollmer)
2. Bacterial cell wall architecture and coordination mechanisms (Daniel)
3. The bacterial cell wall - and life without it (Errington)
4. Bacterial cell division; protein localisation tolerance (Holden)
5. Control of DNA replication in bacteria (Murray)
6. Mechanistic aspects of transcription (Zenkin)
7. Cation homeostasis and regulation of cell turgor (Strahl)
8. Bacterial mechanisms of cellular metal homeostasis (Waldron)
9. Bacterial pathogenesis (Kennedy)

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture82:0016:00Present in person (PIP) lectures
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture12:002:00Present in person (PIP): module introduction and lecture
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion144:0044:00Preparation and Submission of 2000 word Essay
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion132:0032:00Preparation of Presentation
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching23:006:00Present in person (PIP): presentations
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1100:00100:00Preparation of Notes from Lectures and Reading
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will be interactive encouraging students to question concepts and ideas and to develop critical analytical skills when interrogating the wider literature. There will be an opportunity in seminars to discuss the contents of the module in a wider context including questions around specific ideas arising from self directed study.

Should public health circumstances dictate that it is necessary, in person sessions including oral presentations will be moved to online alternatives.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise1M50Written critique: 2000 words
Prof skill assessmnt1M50Present in person 15 minute Oral presentation
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The assessments methods are designed to encourage and test key skills that are required for a career in postgraduate research. Specifically:

The interpretation of the content of a research paper is to assess the student’s knowledge of the subject and their analytical skills and capacity to evaluate experimental data and to understand how bacteria underpin research in molecular microbiology.

The oral presentation is to assess the student’s ability to communicate their ideas clearly, effectively and authoritatively on the subject to an informed audience. Oral presentation also assesses the student’s ability to adapt to and answer questions.

Should public health circumstances dictate that it is necessary, the oral presentation will be moved to a synchronous online presentation.

Reading Lists