From Gene to Function in Pathogenic Bacteria

Course content

Infectious diseases remain one of the major threats to human health. Development of novel antimicrobial drugs requires detailed knowledge on the molecular mechanisms exploited by pathogens to cause disease and to resist antibiotic treatments. In this course, students will obtain advanced knowledge on all aspects of biology that allow bacteria to acquire novel genetic traits and to cause infections in the host. The theoretical and experimental parts of the course will be tightly linked. In the practical course advanced molecular techniques will be used to demonstrate key features of four pathogenic bacteria (Staphylococcus aureus, Listeria monocytogenes, Campylobacter jejuni, and Salmonella typhimurium). The practical exercises will cover the topics: acquisition of genetic variation (phages, natural transformation, pathogenicity islands), antibiotic resistance, construction of genetically modified mutants, virulence gene regulation, and cell-assays to study host-pathogen interactions.

Education

MSc Programme in Biology-Biotechnology
MSc Programme in Molecular Biomedicine
MSc Programme in Biology with a minor subject

MSc Programme in Biology

Learning outcome

The aim of the course is to provide an understanding of the genetic traits  and the gene regulatory mechanisms that are central for the ability of pathogenic bacteria to persist and cause disease in a host. Emphasis will be on how advanced molecular techniques can be used to answer research hypothesis relevant to these topics.

At the end of the course, the student is expected to be able to:

Knowledge
- describe molecular mechanisms of importance for the virulence, persistence, and evolution of pathogenic bacteria 
- give a survey of how bacteria aquire new virulence traits including resistance to antibiotics
-define molecular methods introduced in the practical course

Skills
-employ molecular methods introduced in the practical course
- design experiments to answer research hypothesis in the field of pathogenic bacteria and interpret obtained results 
-explain generally principles in virulence gene regulation and give detailed examples here-off
-communicate scientific literature within the field of pathogenic bacteria to specialists and non-specialists (both orally and in writing)

Competences
-discuss and evaluate scientific experiments employing the molecular techniques introduced during the course 
-discuss what can be done to combat pathogenic bacteria (in general terms)

Teaching will take the form of general introductory lectures, colloquia, and practical exercises. Primary literature forms the basis for the colloquia and will partly be presented by students. In the practical exercises the students will be guided through relevant molecular techniques used in scientific literature. Data collected from laboratory experiments are compiled into a reports that form the basis for the oral exam (see below for more details)

ECTS
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 30 minutes
The oral examination will take its starting point in one of the 5 reports prepared during the course, but follow-up questions will cover the entire curriculum.
Aid
Only certain aids allowed

The reports form the basis for the oral examination, and should be brought to the exam.

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Several internal examiners/co-examiners
Criteria for exam assessment

To achieve the maximum grade of 12, the student shall be able to:

Knowledge
- describe molecular mechanisms of importance for the virulence, persistence, and evolution of pathogenic bacteria
- give a survey of how bacteria aquire new virulence traits including resistance to antibiotics
-define molecular methods introduced in the practical course

Skills
- design experiments to answer research hypothesis in the field of pathogenic bacteria and interpret obtained results
-explain generally principles in virulence gene regulation and give detailed examples here-off
-communicate scientific literature within the field of pathogenic bacteria to specialists

Competences
-discuss and evaluate scientific experiments employing the molecular techniques introduced during the course
-discuss what can be done to combat pathogenic bacteria (in general terms)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 20
  • Colloquia
  • 15
  • Practical exercises
  • 65
  • Guidance
  • 26
  • Preparation
  • 80
  • English
  • 206