Skip to main content

Infectious Bacteria and Antibiotics


  • Credit value: 15 credits at Level 6
  • Convenor: Richard Rayne
  • Assessment: a literature analysis (25%), lab report (25%), short-answer test (30%) and problem-solving test (20%)

Module description

This module is designed to provide a thorough overview of major classes of bacterial pathogens and of antibacterial agents, their mode(s) of action, mechanism(s) of resistance, and to examine how to tackle antibiotic resistance. It builds on foundational modules offered at Levels 4 and 5 (in the latter case, particularly drawing upon Immunology and Microbiology). It will offer you insight into one of the key areas of research strength in the Department.

Indicative module content

  • Overview of medical bacteriology and antibiotic drug discovery
  • Disease and disease-causing bacterial pathogens
  • Entry, exit and transmission of bacterial pathogens
  • Epidemiological aspects of infectious diseases
  • Antibacterials: modes (general and molecular) of endogenous functions; mechanisms of resistance (physical and intrinsic molecular)
  • Evolution and transmission of antibiotic resistance
  • Tackling antibacterial drug resistance
  • Laboratory: Whole-cell phenotypic evaluation of drugs/novel chemical entities on bacteria

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • identify the major classes of disease-causing bacterial pathogens and, for selected examples, describe their role in causing infectious diseases
  • explain modes of action of named antibacterials and describe mechanisms whereby microbes develop antibiotic resistance
  • evaluate the vulnerability of named endogenous metabolic pathways as potential therapeutic targets in the design of new antibiotics
  • demonstrate a critical awareness of the research foundation on which our current knowledge of microbes, antibiotics, their modes of action and key determinants of drug resistance are based
  • apply a range of appropriate and relevant experimental techniques and how they are used; be able to perform some of them.