Molecular Bacteriology
Reference DHBIOM00000051
Taught in Majors List Master of Biomedical Sciences
Theory (A) 25.0
Exercises (B) 0.0
Training and projects (C) 32.0
Studytime (D) 180.0
Studypoints (E) 6
Credit contract? Access is determined after successful competences assessment
Examination contract? This course can not be taken through this kind of contract
Credit contract mandatory if Exam contract? Separate credit contract mandatory
Retake possible in case of permanent evaluation? Yes
Teaching Language Dutch
Lecturer Mario Vaneechoutte
Department GE06
Key Words

Bacteriology, host bacteria interaction, bacterial stress response and virulence mechanisms, chronic infection, biofilm, probiotics, bacteriophages

Position of the Course

Starting from the knowledge gained during the course Microbiology lectured during the 3rd Bachelor Biomedical Sciences, the mechanisms used by bacteria to evade stress from the environment - in particular the innate immunity respons of the host - and to cause infection are studied in detail. The course focuses on chronic infections because their importance is increasing, because they are difficult to treat with antibiotics and because they are in the center of research interests of the lecturer, i.e. bacterial biofilms, bacterial vaginosis and Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection of airways of cystic fibrosis patients. In addition the possibilities and limitations of classic antibiotics based therapy and alternative prevention and treatment methods based on e.g. bacteriophages and probiotics are discussed. Finally, methods to classify, identify and type bacteria and the application of these methods to characterize complex microfloras and monitor clinical studies with bacteriophages and probiotics are instructed.


  • Bacterial taxonomy and identification: Methods to classify and identify bacteria
  • Complex microfloras of the human body: Overview of the human microflora and methods to characterize complex microflora
  • Bacterial stress respons and virulence mechanisms: Colonisation and infection mechanisms at the molecular level
  • Chronic infection I: Cystic fibrosis and infection with Pseudomonas aeruginosa: Chronic infection and biofilm formation
  • Chronic infection II: Vaginal microflora and adverse pregnancy outcome: Composition of normal and disturbed vaginal microflora and its consequences for pregnancy outcome
  • Alternative therapy I: Bacteriophages: Taxonomy, characteristics, possibilities and limitations for therapy
  • Alternative therapy II: Probiotics and prebiotics: Definitions, overview, applications, limitations

Starting Competences

Having successfully completed the courses Immunology, Microbiology, Molecular Biology I, Molecular Biology II, and Human pathogenesis from the bachelor program biomedical sciences, or having acquired the relevant ending objectives by other means.

Final Competences

  • To possess advanced general as well as detailed knowledge of microbiology and infection mechanisms.
  • To understand the possibilities and limitations of classical (antibiotic based) as well as alternative (e.g. bacteriophage, probiotic based) treatments of infection.
  • To be able to analyse in a critical manner scientific publications.
  • To be able to estimate the scientific value of statements and of publications of all sorts.
  • To be able to write a scientific report regarding microbiological subjects.
  • To be able to present information orally and in a structured manner.

Teaching and Learning Material

Hand-outs of hearing colleges (Free, Dutch and English). Selected scientific publications and web sources for group work (Free, English) Minerva (Free, Dutch and English).


Course Content-Related Study Coaching

By e-mail or personal after appointment by e-mail

Teaching Methods

Classroom lectures; Microteaching;

Evaluation Moments

Evaluation throughout semester as well as during examination period

Evaluation Methods

During examination period: written closed-book exam complemented with oral examination; oral open-book exam, written preparation
During semester: graded oral presentation; Assessment of participation in and reporting of the group work. Second chance: Possible in adapted form
Frequency: Oral presentation: once. Participation in group work: continuous. Reporting of group work: once.

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