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MMB8016 : Molecular Microbiology

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Waldemar Vollmer
  • Lecturer: Dr Richard Daniel, Dr Alistair Brown, Prof. Jeff Errington FRS, Dr Kevin Waldron, Professor Nikolay Zenkin, Dr Henrik Strahl von Schulten, Professor Heath Murray, Dr Yulia Yuzenkova
  • Owning School: FMS Graduate School
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


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, and how these processes can be targeted by antibiotics. The module will comprise a series of lectures and seminars by active researchers that discuss novel concepts within the field of molecular microbiology.

Outline Of Syllabus

Teaching activities will cover the following areas within two-hour lectures:

Module Introduction
Discovery of molecular mechanisms using model bacteria
ell envelope structures
Bacterial cell wall synthesis and its targeting by antibiotics
Cell membranes as key envelope components and antibiotics targets
Bacterial life without a cell wall
Bacterial cell division and coordination mechanisms
Control of DNA replication in bacteria
Mechanistic aspects of transcription and its inhibition by antibiotics
Bacterial mechanisms of cellular metal homeostasis
Complex regulatory mechanisms in bacteria
Antibiotic resistance

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture92:0018:00Present in person
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 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
Prof skill assessmnt1M5015 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