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This subject describes how bacteria have evolved specialized structures and proteins that allow them to adapt and survive in a range of environments. In particular this subject will examine the contribution of processes such as protein secretion and gene regulation to bacterial survival during infection of humans (i.e. pathogenesis). From an understanding of the molecular basis of host-pathogen interactions, students will be able to understand the diverse mechanisms bacteria use to cause disease, and how infectious diseases are spread. A range of medically important bacteria will be discussed, with an emphasis on their ecology, pathogenesis and the pathobiology of the disease. The subject will also describe techniques and strategies such as mutant construction and molecular cloning that are used to dissect microbial function, and cover applied aspects of medical microbiology, such as the diagnosis of infections, the mechanisms of action of antimicrobial agents, as well as resistance to these agents. Students should be able to apply this knowledge to the determination of strategies for prevention, control and recognition of disease, including the design of vaccines and other therapeutics.
Intended learning outcomes
Upon completion of this subject, students should be able to:
- describe the fundamental concepts of bacterial pathogenesis including the transfer of proteins across the bacterial cell wall, the regulation of protein expression and strategies for survival;
- explain the ways in which microbes interact with their hosts, the environment and each other;
- evaluate and interpret scientific literature and research findings to explain the pathogenesis of medically important bacteria;
- illustrate and interpret how molecular adaptations contribute to bacterial pathogenesis;
- interpret current knowledge of how bacteria cause disease and formulate scientifically sound strategies to address issues in the diagnosis, treatment and/or prevention of bacterial infections.
On completion of this subject, students should have developed the following generic skills:
- the capacity to integrate knowledge across disciplines
- the ability to comprehend a question, evaluate the relevant information and communicate an answer
- the ability to interpret scientific literature and interpret data from electronic databases
Last updated: 10 December 2019