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MMB8016 : Molecular Microbiology

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Richard Daniel
  • Lecturer: Dr Kevin Whitley, Dr Henrik Strahl von Schulten, Mr Manuel Banzhaf, Dr Yulia Yuzenkova, Dr Katarzyna Mickiewicz, Professor Nikolay Zenkin, Dr Alistair Brown, Dr Ling Juan Wu, Professor Heath Murray
  • Owning School: Biomedical, Nutritional and Sports Scien
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


This module provides an up to date understanding of how fundamental research in bacterial cell biology helps to elucidate central biological questions such as the control and regulation of cell division and of gene expression in bacteria. It will also provide an introduction into how understanding basic cellular processes can be used to understand the mechanisms by which antibiotics specifically inhibit certain bacteria and permit the identification of new targets for the development of novel antimicrobial treatments.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module will comprise of a series of lectures and seminars by active researchers that discuss novel concepts within the field of molecular microbiology mostly in the form of two hour lectures.

The lecture sequence will comprise of a module introduction followed by lectures on specific aspects of bacterial cell biology. The objective being to give an overview of the methods used in the discovery of molecular mechanisms used by model bacteria and the application of this in understanding the basic processes involved in bacterial growth and development in terms of regulation and biological function. It will also look at aspects of the interaction of bacterial spp. and/or bacteriophages with respect to the development of antibacterial strategies.

The topic areas would include, but not restricted to:

Cell envelope and membrane structure and synthesis
Bacterial growth, cell division and coordination mechanisms
Control of DNA replication and segregation in bacteria
Mechanistic aspects of transcription, translation and regulation of gene expression
Bacteriophage predation of bacteria and mechanisms of host defense against infection
Use of antibiotics as tools to understand complex cellular processes
Identification of the mechanisms which antibiotic kill bacteria and development of novel antibacterial agents

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion144:0044:00Preparation and Submission of 2000 word Essay
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture12:002:00Present in person (PIP): module introduction and lecture
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture92:0018:00Present in person
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion130:0030:00Preparation 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.

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
Oral Presentation1M5015 minute Oral presentation (present in person)
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.

Reading Lists