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MICR461 Molecular Microbiology

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This tutorial-based paper investigates selected hot topics in molecular microbiology through analysis of original research papers. You will gain the ability to critically evaluate published scientific research, an essential skill for anyone wishing to be involved in research or other higher learning. The teaching format of this paper will also provide you with the opportunity to work in small groups and develop oral presentation skills.

Paper title Molecular Microbiology
Paper code MICR461
Subject Microbiology
EFTS 0.1667
Points 20 points
Teaching period First Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,348.60
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $6,508.13

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Students who are interested in this paper but are not majoring in Microbiology, Genetics, Biochemistry or Molecular Biotechnology are invited to discuss course content with the department.

Appropriate for BSc(Hons), MSc and PGDipSci students majoring in Microbiology, Genetics, Biochemistry or Molecular Biotechnology.


Professor Vernon Ward

Teaching staff

Convenor: Professor Vernon Ward
Other Lecturers: Professor Peter Fineran, Associate Professor Keith Ireton, Professor Greg Cook, Dr Jemma Geoghegan

Paper Structure

This tutorial-based paper is divided into four modules: three modules of three-weeks' duration and one module of two-weeks' duration. While the structure of each module will differ, generally the tutor will introduce the topic in week 1, with the students (often in small groups) leading the discussion of original research papers and experimental approaches in weeks 2 and 3. The topics covered may change from year to year, reflecting topical issues in microbiology.

Modules in 2020 were:

  • CRISPR-Cas: adaptive immunity in bacteria
  • Molecular mechanisms of bacterial pathogenesis
  • Whole-genome sequencing of bacterial pathogens
  • Phylodynamics of viral disease
Teaching Arrangements
This is a first semester paper with one tutorial per week for 11 weeks. The duration of tutorials will vary from one up to three hours.

Textbooks are not required for this paper.
Course readings are reviews and original papers from the literature. PDFs of these will be placed on Blackboard.

Course outline

View course outline for MICR 461

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Communication, Critical thinking, Information literacy, Research, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
  • Be able to demonstrate an in-depth understanding of topical issues in molecular microbiology
  • Develop skills in critically evaluating the scientific literature and in experimental design
  • Develop communication and teamwork skills

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First Semester

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Friday 08:00-10:50 9-12, 15-22