Microbiology (Bio 234) Syllabus

Microbiology (Bio 234) / Winter 1998 Prof. Debby Walser-Kuntz, Ph.D.

Office: Hulings (BSB) 328 Phone: #5756 E-mail: dwalser Office hours: Mondays from 9:00 - 10:00 AM and Fridays from 1:30 to 3:00 PM

Text: Biology of Microorganisms, 8th ed., Brock, Madigan, Martinko, and Parker.

Microbiologist Bernard Dixon writes, "Microbes, not macrobes, rule the world." One of the goals I have for this course is to further your appreciation of the role bacteria and other microbes play in our daily lives. Although most of us know by not so pleasant experience that certain bacteria make us sick, the vast majority of bacteria are of great benefit to us. Microbes are busy producing food and antibiotics, attempting to improve our environment by removing pollutants, and cycling elements (such as nitrogen) vital to our existence. Hopefully, and perhaps more importantly, you will also gain an appreciation for the microbes themselves as fascinating organisms able to adapt to and occupy unusual environments.

On the second page of the syllabus I have included a calendar of the topics to be discussed in class, the appropriate reading from the text, and assignments that are due. In the column with assignments are also readings placed on reserve in the library. Read them and be prepared to discuss the articles on the date listed. Problem sets and discussions of readings will be 10% of your final grade. The problem sets are designed to help you further understand the material we are discussing in class. Although they can and should be worked on with a partner or small group, each individual should hand in the assignment typed in their own words. I will accept late assignments, but 10% will be deducted from your grade for being late.

You will each be assigned to a small group and given one microbiological problem to solve. To solve this problem you will need to refer to your text, lecture notes, additional outside reading and relevant web sites. You will hand in a one page typed answer to the problem as a group. Please include all sources utilized to answer the problem. This problem solving assignment will be worth 10% of your final grade. When you hand in your group's answer please individually also hand in a written comment on the effort (or lack of effort) put in by each member of your group.

Often teachers report that they really understood a topic only after they had to teach it to other people. Being able to effectively communicate information is also an important aspect of science. So, you and a partner will become "experts" on one small topic related to bacterial growth or its control. You will then be responsible for sharing what you have learned with the rest of the class. Your teaching could involve a lecture or leading the class in an activity or discussion. Be creative! Last year one group made a video and another group did several useful hands-on demonstrations. More details on this later! The mini-lecture will be 10% of your grade. Please note that I will grade these presentations stringently as the success of the entire class depends on your preparation. Your group should meet with me at least one week before your scheduled class time.

As we get further into the course there will be issues/topics that you become more curious about - hopefully! - that can become the basis for further research and a paper. I will give you some suggestions for paper topics, but please discuss a different idea you may have with me. The paper should be written so that other biology students in the class could read and learn from it. It should be no more than 2 to 3 pages in length and resemble a recent review of the topic. Although the paper will be short, you will need to have read and incorporated a minimum of 10 recent sources. You can find a good example of the type of paper I want if you look at the journal Science (which we have in the library). In the section titled Perspectives are well-written mini-reviews that a general biologist could read and understand. They are about current topics and generally cite at least 15 references. The final paper should have a title and a list of at least ten references. I am requiring that a rough draft be turned in to me by February 25. This way I can make suggestions and you will have at least one week to revise the paper before the final version is due on March 11. The paper is worth 15% of your final grade.

There will be three exams throughout the term. The first two exams will be worth 20% each. The final exam will be cumulative and will be 15% of your grade.Final grades will be calculated using a cut-off of 90% for an A, 80% for a B, 70% for a C and 60% for a D. If you find you are having difficulty in the course please talk to me sooner rather than later!

I encourage anyone with special needs to talk to me after the first class period or come visit with me in my office.

Assignments and Readings

January 5 Introduction/Survey of microbes Chapter 1

January 7 Anatomy of cells Chapter 3

January 9 Anatomy of cells

January 12 Archaea Chapter 15; pp. 742-8 & 766-8

January 14 Replication, transcription and translation Chapter 6

January 16 Transcription regulation/Communication Chapter 7 and article by Greenbery "Quorum sensing in gram negative bacteria"

January 19 Transfer of information Chapter 9

January 21 Metabolism /Why do we need ATP? Chapter 4 and article by Saier "Peter Mitchell and his chemiosmotic theories

January 23 Metabolism/How do we get ATP? Chapter 4

Problem set #1 due

January 26 Metabolism Chapter 13

January 28 Microbial ecology Chapter 14

January 30 EXAM #1

February 2 Biofilms/Bioremediation Article: "Bacteria Breakfast" by Frazer

February 4 Growth and its control Chapter 5 and 11

Student mini-lectures

February 6 Antibiotics and resistance Chapter 11and 12

Student mini-lectures

February 9 Mid-term break

February 11 Viruses Chapter 8

February 13 Viruses Article on reserve: "The Parasitic Wasp's Secret Weapon" by Bechage

February 16 Viruses Discussion of rabbit calicivirus release

February 18 EXAM #2

February 20 Immune system Chapter 20

February 23 Immune system

February 25 Normal microbiota Chapter 19

First draft of paper due

February 27 Principles of Disease/Toxins Chapter 19

March 2 Epidemiology Chapter 22

Problem set #2 due

March 4 Microbial pathogenicity Chapters 16 & 23 and de Kruif article on reserve from Microbe Hunters

March 6 Type III secretion pathway &pathogenesis Chapters 16 & 23

March 9 Chapters 16 & 23

March 11 Review for final exam Final draft of paper due


Interesting Microbiology Web sites to check out:

Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

Microbe zoo

Microbial Underground

All the virology on the www.

Cells alive!

Biofilm Tutor

ASM Biofilms Home Page


Kimball's biology pages

World Health Organization