Microbes make up a large component of the earth’s total biomass. In addition to pathogens causing significant infectious diseases, a healthy human being carries around approximately 100 trillion “good” bacteria, as well as other microbes. MICR 271 provides an introduction to the biology of prokaryotic and eukaryotic microbes, including pathogenic and beneficial bacteria, viruses, fungi, helminthes, and protozoa. An overview of the biological features of these microorganisms and their component parts will highlight their roles in public health and the environment.
*Note that BHSc program students are required to take one of MICR 271/3.0 or MICR 270/3.0.
Minimum 2nd year (Level 2) standing, and one of (PHGY 170/3.0 or BIOL 102/3.0) or equivalent courses with permission of the instructor.
*May not be taken for credit towards the Plan requirements of the LISC Specialization or Major Plans.
No more than 3.0 units from MICR 271/3.0 and MICR 221/3.0.
After completing MICR 271, students will be able to:
- Employ a basic understanding of the biological features of bacteria, viruses, and eukaryotic microbes to transition to higher level microbiology courses.
- Analyze information pertaining to a specific organism to evaluate the impact of antibiotic resistance of the microorganism in health, disease or the environment.
- Collaboratively demonstrate a working knowledge of microbe characteristics that relate to their survival by working effectively with peers.
- Employ effective peer review in a small group setting in order to collaboratively formulate predictions of the success or failure of designed superbugs.
All assessments will be graded using marking rubrics.
Assessment 1 – Quizzes (30% total – three quizzes; 10% each)
The course instructor will introduce students to quiz questions during guided, videoed lectures. Students will be guided through specific concepts related to the questions by the instructor in order to help the student understand the question, think about the material needed to answer the question, and formulate answers. Students in small groups will discuss their answers and formulate consensus answers to the quiz questions within a specified time frame. Students will have three quizzes total over the length of the course, the each being worth 10%. TAs will grade quizzes.
Assessment 2 – Group Case-Study Assessment (40% total – two group assessments; 20% each)
Students will complete two group assignments working in groups of 3–4 people. The first assignment will be design-based and consist of the development of a hypothetical “supermicrobe” that will be created to survive specific predetermined conditions. The second assignment will be a critical assessment of a peer group’s “supermicrobe” design to assess the likelihood of the organism’s survival. For the first assignment each group will submit a short report outlining their design concept. For the second assignment each group will submit a critical review of one designed superbug. TAs will grade reports.
Assessment 3 – Final Exam (30%)
The final exam will consist of well-designed short answer questions, aimed at problem solving and assimilating knowledge learned throughout the course, rather than strict memorization.
Instructor or TA-directed discussions will take place on an ongoing basis. Students will be expected to have small group discussions to consider their interpretations of the course material and assigned readings. The instructor will ask students for feedback on this process. Although these sessions will not be graded, they are meant to improve understanding of the course material through discussion and deliberation with peers.
9–10 hours a week (108–120 hours per term).
Textbooks and Materials
MICR 271 course notes via modules posted online