Queen's University
MICR 382 Microbes in Health and Disease

MICR 382, Microbes in Health and Disease, will examine the ongoing interplay between microbes and humans, focusing on the roles of microbes in health and disease.  It wasn’t until the late nineteenth century that diseases such as plague, typhoid fever, malaria, and influenza were understood to be caused by microbes. These diseases occur despite the unique relationship developed over millions of years between microbes and humans that constitutes the immune system. In addition, humans act as hosts to trillions of beneficial microbes that thrive in and on our bodies. Infectious diseases result from microbes found both in the environment and associated with the human body.

Minimum 3rd year (Level 3) standing and one of (MICR 271/3.0; MICR 221/3.0) and one of (MICR 360/3.0; BMED 386/3.0) or permission of the instructor.

Note: This course is not open to Arts and Science students.

MICR 320/3.0

After completing MICR 382 Microbes in Health and Disease, students will be able to:

  1. Organize & assess information from various sources to critically and appropriately solve a problem.
  2. Work in a small group setting in order to critically & collaboratively evaluate the factors that contribute to a biological change related to microbes.
  3. Integrate the information taught in the course to provide a broad-based understanding of the impact of microbes on health and disease and to progress to related upper level courses.


As Collaborators, health professionals work effectively with other health care professionals to provide safe, high-quality, patient-centred care.


As Communicators, health professionals form relationships with patients and their families* that facilitate the gathering and sharing of essential information for effective health care.


As Advocates, health professionals contribute their expertise and influence as they work with communities or patient populations to improve health. They work with those they serve to determine and understand needs, speak on behalf of others when required, and support the mobilization of resources to effect change.


As Leaders, health professionals engage with others to contribute to a vision of a high-quality health care system and take responsibility for the delivery of excellent patient care through their activities as clinicians, administrators, scholars, or teachers.


As Scholars, health professionals demonstrate a lifelong commitment to excellence in practice through continuous learning and by teaching others, evaluating evidence, and contributing to scholarship.


As Professionals, health professionals are committed to the health and well-being of individual patients and society through ethical practice, high personal standards of behaviour, accountability to the profession and society, physician-led regulation, and maintenance of personal health.

Assessment 1 – Quizzes (35% total – two quizzes; 15% and 20%)

The course instructor will introduce students to a number of 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 two quizzes total over the length of the course, the first being worth 15% and the second being worth 20%. TAs will grade quizzes.

Assessment 2 – Group Case-Study Assessment (35% – two group assessments; 15% and 20%)

Students will have two small group assignments; both of which will be based on a case-study analysis. The first (15%) will pertain to microbes and their contributions to healthy living, and the second (20%) will pertain to microbes and their contributions to infection and disease. Students will initially write a draft analysis individually.  Then in small groups, students will exchange their reports and review 2–3 other student’s reports, providing comments and suggestions for improving each report. After reworking each report into a final draft and submitting, TAs will choose 1 report per group from the submissions for assessment. The individual draft reports, the reviewer’s comments and all final drafts will be submitted. The case-study reports will be graded by TAs.

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.

Required Texts

  • MICR 382 course notes via modules posted online.
  • Relevant primary literature will be provided by the instructor pertaining to specific modules.

Queen’s students, faculty, administrators and staff all have responsibilities for supporting and upholding the fundamental values of academic integrity. Academic integrity is constituted by the five core fundamental values of honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility (see http://www.academicintegrity.org) and by the quality of courage. These values and qualities are central to the building, nurturing and sustaining of an academic community in which all members of the community will thrive. Adherence to the values expressed through academic integrity forms a foundation for the "freedom of inquiry and exchange of ideas" essential to the intellectual life of the University.

Students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with and adhering to the regulations concerning academic integrity. General information on academic integrity is available at Integrity@Queen's University, along with Faculty or School specific information. Departures from academic integrity include, but are not limited to, plagiarism, use of unauthorized materials, facilitation, forgery and falsification. Actions which contravene the regulation on academic integrity carry sanctions that can range from a warning, to loss of grades on an assignment, to failure of a course, to requirement to withdraw from the university.

Specifically, for MICR 382 Microbes in Health and Disease, students must express themselves in their own words, and cite sources when they use outside information. Verbatim copying of the module text or textbook is considered plagiarism and is a breach of academic integrity. Further, lying and misrepresentation are dishonest and violate the core values of academic integrity.

All components of this course will receive numerical percentage marks. The final grade received for the course will be derived by converting the student’s numerical course average to a letter grade according to Queen’s Official Grade Conversion Scale.