Module code: MMVM001

Module Overview

This first module of the MSc Veterinary Microbiology program aims to review the basic properties of microorganisms and define how the host responds to infection.

It is designed to act both as a refresher for those that have recently taken Microbiology or Immunology courses and as a starting point in either subject for those that may have previously focussed more on one side or the other. As a result we will start at the very basics but quickly build to provide you with a deeper knowledge in both subjects.

By asking questions such as 'What is a pathogen?' and 'Do all infections lead to disease?' we will explore the impact of the host-pathogen-environment triad on animal infection and disease

Module provider

School of Veterinary Medicine

Module Leader

RITCHIE Jennifer (Biosc & Med)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

JACs code: C522

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 99

Lecture Hours: 35

Tutorial Hours: 4

Practical/Performance Hours: 12

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

To have fulfilled the entry requirements for the MSc Programme.

Module content

Indicative content includes:

·         Introduction to the host-pathogen-environment triad

·         Bacterial structure and function

·         Bacterial metabolism, culture and its limitations

·         Fungi as pathogens

·         Introduction to cells and tissues of the immune system

·         Innate immunity

·         Antigen recognition/TCR and BCR/MHC I and MHC II

·         Adaptive immunity; T cell and B cell response

·         Review of cells and tissues (tutorial)

·         Review of immunology principles (tutorial)

·         Hypersenstivity and Tolerance

·         Veterinary immunology: important species differences

·         Introduction to parasitology

·         Major groups of parasites

·         Introduction to Virology: virus structure and function

·         Viral detection, culture and its limitations

·         Practical: Identification of unknown infectious agents using basic bacteriology techniques

-         Practical: Basic immunology techniques - flow cytometry and ELISA

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Examination EXAM (MCQ) - 1 HOUR 20

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge of basic microbiology and immunology. Two styles of examination are used for this propose: i) Exam consisting of multiple choice questions that cover the breadth and depth of the module and ii) Exam consisting of short written essay style questions – the exam paper is split into two parts with one part focused on microbiology and the other part on immunology. Students must answer one question from each part.  Thus students have an opportunity to demonstrate understanding of both aspects of the host-pathogen relationship. In addition, the students are assessed on their ability to perform, organise and report two laboratory experiments which ties in with the lecture content. Completion of the laboratory reports in particular allows the students to demonstrate key transferable skills including independence, time management and organisation, critical thinking as well as subject-specific knowledge.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

·         Exam (multiple choice, 50 questions with 5-answer choice in 1 hour) (20%)

·         Exam (Short essay questions, select 2/4, 1 hour) (40%)

·         Practical report (Bacteriology report due date 21/10/14) (20%)

·         Practical report (Immunology report due date 28/10/14) (20%)

Formative assessment and feedback

Students will receive verbal feedback on their performance regularly during each lecture – this is achieved by the Lecturers asking questions and assessing student responses and input into discussions. The lecture will then highlight areas of confusion or provide clarity where necessary. Individual one-to-one discussions are also possible in the classroom and particularly during the laboratory sessions,  with this small group of students. From past experience, we are aware that some students struggle with the depth of information given during the immunology lectures and so we have now introduced two 1-hour tutorial sessions where they can review material and with the help of a lecturer make connections between individual concepts in order to build a better understanding of the whole subject.

Students will also be given example exam questions to answer and review in a later module with the aim of increasing their confidence and performance during the exams. A 3-hour session (now carried out in module MMVM001) has been scheduled to permit this.

Module aims

  • To provide an overview of the diversity of micro-organisms in terms of structure and function as an essential foundation for the study of veterinary microbiology.
  • To provide a basic overview of the comparative immunology of animals as an essential foundation for the study of veterinary microbiology.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Demonstrate knowledge of the structural and functional diversity of micro-organisms of veterinary significance K
002 Critically assess the methods employed to describe and classify micro-organisms K
003  Demonstrate knowledge of the molecular and cellular events that occur during an immune response K
004  Demonstrate knowledge of the mechanisms of immune responses in infection of a range of specified diseases K
005 Evaluate pathogen-host interaction in terms of immune responses C
006 Evaluate the biology of micro-organisms with respect to the infectious process C
007 Work independently demonstrating initiative, self-organisation and time management T
008 Communicate effectively orally and in written work T
009 Participate in group discussions and on group assignments T
010 Investigate and analyse problems T
011 Integrate numerical & non-numerical information T

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to introduce students to the basic and applied aspects of microbiology and enable them to generate a better understanding of how different hosts may respond to infection. This module uses research-active lecturers (both internal and external to the University), who not only are leading experts in their chosen field but also bring a ‘hands-on’ view of working within the practical and regulatory confines of the industry (taught classes). By keeping class sizes small and the lectures fairly informal, the students have a chance to fully engage in a dialogue with the lecturers. The students will have an opportunity to apply their classroom knowledge in two separate practical classes. First, they will apply the principles of bacteriology to identify an unknown infectious agent obtained from three different case histories of animal infections. Secondly, they will apply the principles of flow cytometry to detect different types of immune cells present in various animal blood samples. Thus, on completion of this module, the students should have a greater understanding of some of the complexities and considerations faced by Veterinary Microbiologists attempting to detect, identify and control microorganisms in animals. 

The learning and teaching methods include:

·         35 hours lecture

·         4 hours tutorial/class discussions (+ extra in revision week)

·         12 hours practical classes

·         99 hours independent study

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list

Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: MMVM001

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Veterinary Microbiology MSc 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2019/0 academic year.