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MICR 290 Antibiotic Resistance Lab

 Fall 2023 (On-Campus & Online)
 Year 2 Optional Course
 9-10 hours/week
 3 units
On-Campus Course
Online Course

Bacterial resistance to antibiotics is a growing public health crisis, threatening the clinical use of all antibiotics. This immersive laboratory course is designed to give students the opportunity to develop basic research skills, learning about important microbiological and biochemical research techniques and applying them to the study of antibiotic resistance. Students will work in small groups on a defined semester-long project, identifying and characterizing a bacterial antibiotic resistance mechanism. Students will learn how to culture bacteria and test their susceptibility to antibiotics, manipulate DNA samples, and purify and characterize enzymes. Students will prepare a research publication describing their results, and will orally present the current state of knowledge regarding an antibiotic and its associated resistance mechanisms. These experiments are designed to provide students with valuable lab skills that will support them with future research opportunities.


Minimum 2nd year (Level 2) standing, registration in a Health Sciences, Life Sciences, or Biochemistry degree plan, and one of (MICR 270/3.0; MICR 271/3.0).

MICR 221/3.0

NOTE: In order to provide laboratory opportunities for an increased number of students, students are unable to take both MICR 290 and MICR 221 due to limited laboratory capacity.

Practical laboratory experiments, interactive modules, face-to-face pre-lab conferences, and online discussions.

After completing MICR 290, students will be able to:

  1. Recognize hazards in a research environment in order to employ safe laboratory practices.
  2. Summarize observations and research data in a lab notebook in order to communicate their results in a written format.
  3. Explain how common biochemical and microbiological research techniques work, and evaluate when a particular technique should be applied.
  4. Apply basic research techniques to answer scientific questions.
  5. Interpret and evaluate experimental results to present their findings as a written report.
  6. Evaluate the literature on antibiotic resistance to explain topics in this area to a scientific audience.
  1. Communicator
  2. Scholar
  3. Professional
  4. Collaborator
  5. Content Expert

Assessment 1 - Module Quizzes 15%

Before certain lab sessions, students will be required to complete a short online module, including a short quiz based on the topics covered in that module. These quizzes will be composed of a mixture of multiple choice and short answer questions, and are designed to test the ability of students to apply the material presented in the module. The student’s final grade will be based on the best 7 out of 8 quizzes.

Assessment 2 - Group Presentation 25%

Students will be divided into small groups (3 – 4 students per group), and each group will be assigned a particular class of antibiotics. Groups will prepare a PowerPoint presentation describing

  • (i) the current clinical use(s) of the antibiotic,
  • (ii) the antibiotic mechanism of action,
  • (iii) bacterial resistance mechanisms against that antibiotic, and
  • (iv) the future outlook for the clinical use of that antibiotic.

Students will then individually critique and prepare questions based on the presentation materials prepared by other groups, then answer questions that were posed to their own group. Presentations, critiques, questions, and answers will be evaluated by TAs and instructors according to grading rubrics.

Assessment 3 - Research Project 30%

Following the completion of their lab experiments, students will summarize and present their results in the form of a short research publication. Reports will be organized with the following sections: abstract, introduction, results and discussion, and methodology. Lab reports will be evaluated by TAs and instructors according to grading rubrics.

Assessment 4 - Final Lab Exam 30%

The final lab exam is cumulative, covering all of the online course modules. This exam will be composed of multiple choice and short answer questions that are focused on the research techniques used by students in the lab.

Students can expect to spend on average 9 – 10 hours a week in study, laboratory exercises, practice, and online activities for MICR 290.

MICR 290 course notes via modules posted online, and select readings made available by the instructor.