MOLECULAR BASIS OF BACTERIAL INFECTIONS|
Study points: 7,5 Course code: BMW33617
Coordinators: Dr. B.W. Bardoel & Dr. K.J. Koymans Period: 2 + 3
Examinator: Dr. F.E.J. Coenjaerts Timeslot: B+C
E-mail address: MBBI@umcutrecht.nl Level: 3
Tel.nr.: +31 88 75 539 79
Within this course the bacterium has a central role. The students will gain thorough knowledge on the molecular build-up of several different types of bacteria and the ways this make-up enables these bacteria to cause infections. Plenary lectures will be given by experts active in diverse fields of microbiological research. Furthermore, the focus will be on giving an overview on experimental techniques in molecular microbiology.
A large part (~50%) of this course consists of practical work in which the students will perform their own research in a fundamental research setting. Students will be divided into two subgroups and under supervision of a postdoctoral researcher these subgroups will work on a different topic. All students will identify a set of bacterial genes of interest using bioinformatics and subsequently either produce the corresponding proteins (subgroup 1) or integrate fluorescent markers into bacteria that contain or lack the selected genes of interest using cloning and biochemistry (subgroup 2). By employing important molecular techniques (e.g. flow cytometry, fluorescence microscopy) the corresponding functions will be investigated. Students will furthermore be trained in data analysis, interpretation of obtained results, and critical discussion thereof. Both subgroups will present their work to each other. Besides practical work, students will also have the opportunity to discuss their experiments with several people with different positions (e.g. professor, associate professor, post-doc, PhD student, Master’s student) within the research environment.
This is a challenging course integrating knowledge and practical techniques, thereby forming a bridge between the Bachelor’s programme and research Master’s programme.
Amount of participants:
Due to the high amount of practical work within the course, the maximum number of participants is 24.
General knowledge on molecular cell biology is required (“Cellen” and “Weefsels”). Participation in “Infectie & Immuniteit” or a similar course is advised, however not mandatory. Students who have not participated in this last course will be provided with additional reading material to study within the first weeks. Students from outside the Biomedical Sciences programme should contact the course coordinators to determine if their foreknowledge is sufficient for participation.
Knowledge and insight
After completion of this course the student can:
- describe the molecular and structural features of bacteria (including cell wall, genome, secretion systems);
- explain the diversity within bacterial species based on the above characteristics;
- describe the process of a bacterial infection (from entry, to colonization/infection, to pathogenesis, to survival strategies of bacteria);
- elaborate on bacterial virulence in general (Koch’s postulates & Molecular Koch’s postulates)
- explain the molecular principles of immune evasion strategies employed by bacteria;
- explain the molecular mechanism of bacterial toxins;
- describe the acquisition and molecular basis of antibiotic resistance;
- describe infection of bacteria by bacteriophages and bacterial immunity against this;
- be familiar with, know when to use and how to interpret the most important modern techniques within the field of microbiology (CRISPR-Cas, Crystallography, Imaging, Next Generation Sequencing, Phage Display, Proteomics, RNA-Seq).
After completion of this course the student is able to:
- formulate a research question and translate this into experiments, choosing the right technique;
- perform basic laboratory and microbiological techniques within a research setting;
- perform cloning and expression of foreign proteins in bacteria
- submit a report of their experimental data in the form of a laboratory journal;
- give an oral presentation in English on performed experiments and collected data;
- give a critical analysis (journal club) on literature within the field of molecular microbiology.
After completion of this course the student has:
- the ability to work well in a team;
- developed a critical attitude towards obtained results and scientific literature, but also towards themselves and other students.
Learning activities and contact hours:
Teaching consists of plenary lectures, work groups and literature assignments (41 hours total), practical work (65 hours, divided mostly over half days), student presentations (4 hours), speed dates with researchers (2 hours), meet the expert (1 hour), and written examination (2 hours). Due to the high amount of practical work the average contact hours are approximately 12 hours per week (115 in total). The remaining time is reserved for self-study.
Since this course is open for international students and international teachers are involved, the course will be given in English.
- Written exam (50%);
- Practical assessment (50%); divided between presentations (20%), a written report in the form of a laboratory journal and abstract (20%), and participation (10%);
- The minimum grades for both the exam and the practical assessment required to pass the course is 5.5.
Necessary material (books/costs):
- A course manual will be distributed at the beginning of the course;
- Prescott’s Microbiology, Willey et al., Tenth Edition, 2017 McGrawHill;
- Research articles and other material will be published on Blackboard.