Skip to main content


MMB8016 : Molecular Microbiology

  • Offered for Year: 2019/20
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Waldemar Vollmer
  • Lecturer: Dr Henrik Strahl von Schulten, Professor Heath Murray, Dr Seamus Holden, Professor Jeff Errington, Dr Richard Daniel, Professor Brendan Kenny, Professor Anil Wipat, Dr Kevin Waldron, Professor Nikolay Zenkin
  • 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. Introduction; Bacterial cell wall synthesis
2. Bacterial cell shape; cell wall targeting devices
3. Bacterial cell division; protein localisation tolerance
4. Bacterial cell architecture and coordination mechanisms
5. The bacterial cell wall - and life without it
6. Control of DNA replication in bacteria
7. Mechanistic aspects of transcription
8. Bacterial mechanisms of cellular metal homeostasis
9. The flagellar world - movement, assembly and regulation
10. Bioinformatics and Bacteria
11. Bacterial pathogensis

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion150:0050:00Revision for Examination
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture112:0022:00Lectures
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion130:0030:00Preparation of Presentation and Presentation
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion144:0044:00Preparation and Submission of 3000 word Essay
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching22:004:00Seminars
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study150:0050:00Preparation 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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1201A60Written appraisal of research paper
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise1M20Writtem critique: 3000 words
Prof skill assessmnt1M2015 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. This paper will also provide feedback on key skills required in the exam.

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.

The exam is based on a format that includes assessment of basic knowledge but with an emphasis on analytical skills and critical appraisal of selected research papers from this subject.

Reading Lists