BIO8041 : Antimicrobial Discovery

Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


The aim of this module is to demonstrate various routes to the discovery of antimicrobial products with commercial value. The module aims to familiarise students with a number of different approaches that have been undertaken in the search and discovery of antimicrobial compounds and to give students the practical skills to search for novel antimicrobial compounds.

This is an exciting time for those biologists involved in the search and discovery of novel antimicrobial products: the advent of genomics and post-genomic techniques has provided biologists with a number of research avenues that may lead to the discovery of novel products from microbial sources.

This module is designed to introduce students to such developments. The course uses a mixture of lectures and practicals to introduce contemporary approaches to antimicrobial drug discovery.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module comprises lectures that are delivered offline, with follow-up question and answer lectures to support the offline content. These lectures will comprise open discussion of topics, review of material, and discussion of papers and research in the lecture area. Students are encouraged to use the module blog to raise questions, suggest review areas and highlight interesting research. In addition, any recent advances in the area (papers) are used as the basis of extending learning within the question and answer sessions. The lecture series will cover:

1. Introduction to antimicrobials
2. Antibiotics from viruses
3-4. Antisense approaches to antimicrobial discovery
5. Genomics approaches to antimicrobial discovery
6. Antifungal discovery
7. Microarrays and drug discovery
8. Designing antimicrobials
9. Polypharmacology
10. Synthetic biology and drug discovery

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture101:0010:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion130:0030:00Practical lab report completion
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion100:305:00Revision for in-class tests
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading102:0020:00Reading of research papers
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical22:305:00In-class tests
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical53:0015:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study101:0010:00Lecture follow-up
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study150:205:00Preparation and reflection on scheduled sessions
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lectures are based around specific research papers that demonstrate various techniques used in discovery. Students will become aware of the overall "search and discovery" ethos and be able to design discovery orientated research. The practicals introduce the laboratory techniques used to implement such research. The overall rationale is to equip students with theoretical and practical ability to discover novelty from microbial systems.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Practical/lab report2M60N/A
Written exercise2M20In-class test
Written exercise2M20In-class test
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The practical laboratory test assesses necessary skills and insights: how research techniques that are described in the lectures are applied.

The in-course tests will test the students' progress with the content of the module and offer them feedback on their progress.

Reading Lists