This course will provide graduates in the Biosciences with a sound theoretical background and hands-on laboratory experience in leading-edge microbiology. Students will gain specialist knowledge and insight in key aspects of bacterial infection.
The Institute of Microbiology and Infection at Birmingham brings together a group of researchers and lecturers from the College of Life and Environmental Sciences and the College of Medical and Dental Sciences with expertise in a wide range of aspects of microbiology in infectious disease. The MSc Microbiology and Infection draws on this expertise to highlight the impact of recent advances in understanding of microbes in infection.
The course will enable students to develop basic abilities and skills on which to build professional capability in a healthcare or related microbiology or biomedical research setting.
Good UK Honours degree or overseas equivalent. Minimum lower second class Honours degree in a Biosciences subject. The course should include at least 40 credits of Microbiology.
Academic requirements: We accept a range of qualifications.
English language requirements: You can satisfy our English language requirements in two ways:
by holding an English language qualification to the level required for an Engineering or Science course
by taking and successfully completing one of our English courses for international students
1. Core concepts and skills in Microbiology (10 credits): This module acts as a refresher on the fundamentals of molecular and cellular microbiology. You will have the opportunity to develop key quantitative, analytical and critical analysis skills. It will also include important aspects of working in the laboratory and how to handle microorganisms safely.
2. Medical microbiology practice and applications (30 credits): The module will introduce you to pathogenic microorganisms that cause human diseases including bacterial, viral and fungal diseases, and diseases caused by eukaryotic microorganism. The module will take a systematic approach looking at diseases of the respiratory system, urinogenital system, gastrointestinal tract, and at skin, wound and blood-brain infections. Additionally, the module will build on research strengths in the Institute of Microbiology and Infection by highlighting examples such as tuberculosis, pneumonia and enteric diseases. While emphasis will be on the mechanisms, diagnostics and prevention of microbial disease, the module will also cover clinical components of medical microbiology including hospital acquired infections, and the clinical aspects of drug resistance taught by practicing clinical microbiologists from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
3. Antibiotics: past, present and future (10 credits): The module will begin with a look into the historical perspectives of both the discovery and use of antibiotics in the clinic. The module will then cover the current situation of global antibiotic usage and how misuse and over prescription has lead to the emergence of antibiotic resistance. A series of lectures will cover modern techniques and methodologies that are used to both discover and develop new antibiotic compounds into the next generation of drugs. In this regard, students will gain hands-on practical experience of screening antibiotics and novel natural product extracts (of their own choosing) against a panel of bacterial species. Students will have access to state-of–the-art High throughput Screening facility in the IMI.
4. Host-Pathogen interactions (20 credits): In this module you will be introduced to several key concepts in understanding host-pathogen interactions, including: virulence, the evolution of virulence and the Red Queen hypothesis, pathogen lifestyles, such as intracellular parasitism and latency and genetic variation in hosts and pathogens
5. Antibiotics, Microbial Surfaces and Surface Interactions (30 credits): This module will cover the key elements present at the microbial surface, and relate these in part to antibiotic targets. The threat of antibiotic resistance will be covered in detail and provide the student with a thorough understanding of both drug target and resistance mechanisms.
6. Omics of Pathogens (20 credits): Our understanding of Microbes has been revolutionised by our ability to sequence their genomes and by other ‘omics’ techniques. This module will cover sequencing technology, genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics and metagenomics and explore how these have advanced our understanding of microbial pathogens. You will consider issues which arise from the need to analyse large data sets and will gain hands on experience.
Project titles offered to MSc Microbiology and Infection students 2014/15
Biochemical and molecular genetic characterization of mycobacterial cell wall biosynthetic enzymes
How do pathogenic mycobacteria transport virulence lipids?
Mutational analysis of the AcrA-hairpins (component of the tripartite multi drug efflux pumps)
Control of gene expression in pathogenic Enteroaggregative Escherichia coli.
Production, purification and biochemical functions of two proteins implicated in the resistance of E.coli to nitrosative stress
Self Cleaning surfaces: Preventing the spread of hospital infection
Turning gene regulation inside out: prevalence of promoters within genes in bacterial chromosomes
Exoproteomes of oral pathogens
Impact of the host environment on fungal phagocytosis
Zebrafish as an infection model for human pathogenic E. coli
Examining the effect of azide on oxidative stress in E.coli
Determining whether AKR1C3 selective inhibitors can sensitise tumour cells to chemotheraphy
Investigating the role of quorum sensing agonists on Vibro cholera disease transmission
Transfer of antibiotic resistance carrying plasmids in spatially structured multispecies communities
Analysis of gene expression variation in E. coli
Biophysical Characterization of Proteins from Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus
Acid sensing in E.coli: the roles of the EvgS protein
The role of chaperonins in Mycobacterium marinum, a model for TB
Analysis of genes responsible for acid stress resistance in E coli
Genomic comparison of colonisation versus disease in serotype 1 Streptococcus pneumoniae
Peptidoglycan Modification in Mycobacterium tuberculosis
Dissecting plasmid host range determinants
Regulation of antibiotic production in marine bacteria
Host-Pathogen Interaction: macrophage recognition of fungal pathogens
Alternative platelet functions during fungal infections
Structural Bioinformatics for the Reengineering of the Mupirocin and Thiomarinol Antibiotic Biosynthesis Pathways
The course will give you a thorough grounding in this important and topical area of biomedical science, enabling your entry into employment in health-related positions including hospital and public health laboratories, industry (biotechnology, pharmaceutical and other sectors) and regulatory or quality assurance functions in the public sector or industry. It will also prepare you to work in a research setting, perhaps studying for a PhD as the next step on a research-based career path.
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