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    Disease mechanisms of key microbial pathogens, including bacteria, parasite and fungi. Treatment and control of microbial diseases. Role of the human microbiome and commensals in health and disease.

    Bacterial, parasitic or fungal infections are major causes of illnesses and deaths in New Zealand and throughout the world. Combating infectious disease requires a detailed knowledge of virulence mechanisms of pathogens, the impact of commensal microbes on these pathogens and strategies to prevent or treat disease. This paper will be of interest to students seeking careers in medical laboratory science, health science, public health or biomedical research.

    About this paper

    Paper title Health Microbiology
    Subject Microbiology
    EFTS 0.15
    Points 18 points
    Teaching period Semester 2 (On campus)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $1,173.30
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    MICR 223
    Recommended Preparation
    MICR 221
    Schedule C
    Appropriate for BSc or BBiomedSc students studying Microbiology, Health Sciences, Food Science or Public Health.

    Bruce Russell (

    Teaching staff

    Convenor: Professor Bruce Russell
    Other Lecturers:
    Associate Professor Keith Ireton
    Professor James Ussher
    Dr Htin Lin Aung
    Dr Simon Jackson

    Paper Structure
    Lectures focus on several important microbial pathogens with the goal of answering the following three questions:
    • What are the cellular and molecular mechanisms employed by pathogens to cause disease?
    • How do commensal microorganisms and the human microbiome impact health and disease?
    • What strategies are used to prevent or treat infections?
    • Laboratory report written in the form of a scientific paper (25%)
    • 20-question quiz on the laboratory material (5%)
    • Final exam on the lecture material (70%)
    Teaching Arrangements
    There are two lectures per week. There are two laboratory sessions per week for four weeks. Students may leave the lab for other commitments, such as lectures, and are able to plan their experiments to fit in with these commitments.
    Wilson, BA., Salyers, AA., Whitt, DD. And Winkler ME. 2011, Third edition. Bacterial pathogenesis. A Molecular Approach. American Society for Microbiology.
    Course outline

    Contact the course convenor for a course outline.

    Graduate Attributes Emphasised
    Communication, Critical thinking, Research.
    View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
    Learning Outcomes

    Students who successfully complete this paper will:

    • Demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of microbial mechanisms of virulence, the role of commensals in health and disease and approaches used to prevent or treat infectious diseases
    • Exhibit abilities to perform laboratory work with a high degree of competence and to write a well-organised report that effectively communicates data and conclusions


    Semester 2

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught On Campus
    Learning management system


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    A1 Wednesday 12:00-12:50 29-35, 37-42
    Friday 12:00-12:50 29-35, 37-42


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    Attend one stream from
    A1 Monday 14:00-17:50 30-33
    Tuesday 09:00-17:50 30-33
    Wednesday 09:00-09:50 30-33
    A2 Monday 14:00-17:50 30-33
    Tuesday 09:00-17:50 30-33
    Wednesday 10:00-10:50 30-33
    A3 Monday 14:00-17:50 30-33
    Tuesday 09:00-17:50 30-33
    Wednesday 11:00-11:50 30-33
    A4 Wednesday 14:00-17:50 30-33
    Thursday 09:00-17:50 30-33
    Friday 09:00-09:50 30-33
    A5 Wednesday 14:00-17:50 30-33
    Thursday 09:00-17:50 30-33
    Friday 10:00-10:50 30-33
    A6 Wednesday 14:00-17:50 30-33
    Thursday 09:00-17:50 30-33
    Friday 11:00-11:50 30-33
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