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Microbiology is a branch of the biological sciences which is concerned with the study of micro-organisms.
Micro-organisms are the simplest of living things, permitting ready study of life processes at their most fundamental level. For example, the study of micro-organisms has led to many important discoveries concerning the complexities, universality, and mechanism of expression of the genetic code; the transfer of genetic information between species and modulation of the gene pool; the mechanism of antigen-antibody reactions and cellular immunity; the synthesis of proteins, nucleic acids, and other cellular constituents; the structure, function, and biogenesis of membranes; the process of molecular and cellular differentiation.
In recent years, attention has turned to the use of naturally-occurring and genetically-manipulated organisms for the production of vaccines, antimicrobial agents and diagnostic probes, for the conversion of waste products to utilizable sources of food and energy, and for the management of the ecological balance of nature.
Microbiology has played an important role in the conquest of many infectious diseases and continues to be important in the control of diseases due to newly emerging and re-emerging pathogens. With modern techniques, it is now possible to study microbe/host interactions at the molecular level and thereby develop strategies for prevention and treatment of specific diseases.
Micro-organisms and the specialized techniques for their study are used not only in microbiology but also in related fields such as biochemistry, immunology, pharmacology, genetics, nutrition and ecology. Microbiologists may have careers in universities, colleges or other centres of learning and research as well as in hospitals, industry and government laboratories.
Undergraduate Secretary: Professor M. Brown, FitzGerald Building
Enquiries: FitzGerald Building, 150 College Street, Room 142 (978-0670)
Enrolment in the Specialist program is limited and selection is based on performance in First and Second Year required courses. See application procedure under BMS Programs.
Specialist program: S14791 (13.5 full courses or their equivalent, including at least one 400-series course)
For Distribution Requirement purposes, all MPL courses are classified as SCIENCE courses.
Credit course for supervised participation in faculty research project. See Research Opportunity Program for details.
Morphology, life cycles, evolutionary history and adaptations to a parasitic mode of life. Host-parasite relationships are explored through the study of various helminths and arthropod parasites, the diseases they cause, and our attempts to control them.
Morphology, life cycles, evolutionary history and adaptations to a parasitic mode of life. Host-parasite relationships are explored through the study of various protozoan parasites, the diseases they cause, and our attempts to control them.
Detailed study of bacteria and viruses in terms of structure, classification and replication. Basis for advanced study in virology and in various aspects of bacteriology including bacterial physiology, bacterial genetics, molecular pathogenesis of disease and environmental studies.
Fundamental laboratory techniques in bacteriology and virology. Valuable not only for students specializing in Microbiology but also for those in related disciplines which make use of bacteria and viruses as research tools.
Under the supervision of a departmental staff member. (Open only to students who have completed Third Year with at least `B+' standing)
Analysis of genes and microbial genomes, regulatory mechanisms, evolution of genetic code, DNA restriction and modification systems, mutagenesis and DNA repair mechanisms, mobile genetic elements; principle and strategy of gene cloning and analysis.
A survey of bacterial metabolism and its regulation from a basic knowledge of bacterial physiology, biochemistry and molecular biology. Emphasis is placed on mechanisms of sensing and adjusting to environmental stresses. Topics include: carbon/energy/metabolism and catabolite repression; adjustments to aerobic/anaerobic conditions, changes in osmolarity and starvation for amino acids, nitrogen and phosphate; chemoreceptors, bioluminescence, and response to environmental stress, such as DNA damage and heat shock.
Study of molecular mechanisms involved in pathogenesis of infectious disease. Topics include recurrent themes in the establishment of infectious disease, such as adherence and spread of pathogenic bacteria as well as evasion of host defences. Emphasis is placed on genetic characterization and expression of virulence determinants and on interactions between bacterial pathogens and their hosts.
Analysis of virus/host interactions at the molecular level. Course material is based on recent research publications.
Microorganisms normally exist in mixed communities whose composition and activity reflect the physical and chemical status of each particular niche. The structural analysis, nutrient cycling, and dynamics of microbe-microbe interactions in terrestrial, freshwater, and marine ecosystems are explored. The role of microorganisms in bioremediation is examined.
Current approaches to gene therapy including design of virus-based vectors for delivery and expression of effector genes. Emphasis on the use of retrovirus-based strategies for prevention and treatment of HIV infection.
A laboratory course focussing on the use of molecular techniques to identify microorganisms and to study microbial interactions with the host.
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