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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 communication and organisational skills.

    About this paper

    Paper title Molecular Microbiology
    Subject Microbiology
    EFTS 0.1667
    Points 20 points
    Teaching period Semester 1 (On campus)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $1,448.79
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    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.

    Contact or

    Teaching staff

    Convener: Professor Vernon Ward
    Other lecturers:
    Associate Professor Keith Ireton
    Dr Htin Lin Aung
    Dr Rob Fagerlund

    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 one, with the students (often in small groups) leading the discussion of original research papers and experimental approaches in weeks two and three. The topics covered may change from year to year, reflecting topical issues in microbiology.

    Modules in 2024 were:

    • CRISPR-Cas: adaptive immunity in bacteria
    • Molecular mechanisms of bacterial pathogenesis
    • Whole-genome sequencing of bacterial pathogens
    • Antivirals and their targets
    Teaching Arrangements

    This is a first semester paper with one tutorial per week for 12 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.

    Course outline
    Graduate Attributes Emphasised
    Communication, Critical thinking, Information literacy, Research, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
    View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
    Learning Outcomes

    Students who successfully complete this paper will:

    • 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


    Semester 1

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught On Campus
    Learning management system


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    A1 Friday 09:00-10:50 9-12, 15-22
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