Module code: MMIM031

Module Overview

This module deals with antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy. The molecular basis for the action of antibiotics, antiprotozoal, and antifungal drugs are covered together with the basis for resistance to these agents. Principles of pharmacology will be investigated, together with prescribing practices. Specific pathogens associated with a high level of drug tolerance and resistance are covered in detail. (N.B. Viruses are covered in a separate module).

Module provider

School of Biosciences

Module Leader

AVIGNONE ROSSA Claudio (Biosciences)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

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

Overall student workload

Workshop Hours: 5

Independent Learning Hours: 119

Lecture Hours: 22

Tutorial Hours: 4

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

  • General concepts of antimicrobial action and resistance / tolerance / persistence

  • Selective toxicity

  • Mechanisms of antibiotic action: cell wall inhibitors; inhibitors of ribosome function; antifolates; nucleic acid synthesis inhibitors; antifungal agents; antiprotozoal agents; antiviral agents

  • Biochemistry and genetics of resistance: intrinsic and acquired resistance; plasmids, transposons and mutations; multiple drug resistance; efflux pumps

  • Pharmacological aspects

  • Recent developments in methods used to measure antimicrobial sensitivity

  • Effect of sub-lethal levels

  • Combinations of antibiotics: synergy and antagonism

  • Use of antibiotics: antibiotic policy and chemoprophylaxis

  • Antibiotic production and discovery

  • Examples of notable antimicrobial-resistant microbes such as MRSA; Pseudomonas aeruginosa; Plasmodium spp.; HIV

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Grant proposal investigation - expanding our understanding of antimicrobials 100

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate

  • Knowledge and understanding of the action and resistance of the major groups of antimicrobial agents, with reference to specific named examples

  • Ability to describe antimicrobial resistance in specific microbes

  • Ability to describe and evaluate laboratory methods for measuring antimicrobial sensitivity

  • Knowledge and understanding of the way in which new antimicrobials are developed and tested

  • Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • Grant proposal application - furthering our understanding of antimicrobial drugs

Formative assessment and feedback

Formative assessment is integral to this module and will be provided through mid-semester 1:1 feedback on grant proposal progress. 



Module aims

  • Cover the molecular basis for the action of antimicrobial drugs together with the molecular basis for tolerance, persistence, and resistance to these agents
  • Study specific pathogens that are associated with antimicrobial resistance
  • Describe methods used to measure and evaluate antimicrobial sensitivity
  • Enable understanding of the interaction between host, pathogen, and drug.
  • Explain and discuss antimicrobial prescribing policies with reference to the different spectra of antimicrobials, and strategies to control antimicrobial use in order to minimise the development of resistance
  • Consider new approaches to the treatment of infectious disease

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Describe the action and resistance of the major groups of antimicrobial agents, with reference to specific named examples KC
002 Explain why antimicrobial resistance with reference to specific microbes KC
003 Discuss and evaluate laboratory methods for measuring antimicrobial sensitivity KC
004 Understand principles of resistance, tolerance, and persistence KC
005 Critically evaluate how prescribing policies are developed to control usage of antimicrobials KC
006 Evaluate processes by which new antimicrobials are developed and tested KC

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:

Consolidate fundamental concepts of antimicrobial chemotherapy by inviting specialist experts to give lectures. A deep understanding of the subject is fostered by the data analysis exercise.

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • This module is primarily delivered as a lecture programme (approximately 12 hours), complemented with problem-solving and data analysis exercises (5 h) and laboratory practical classes  (6 h).

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: MMIM031

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Biomedical Science MSci (Hons) 2 Optional 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 2022/3 academic year.