Microbiology, Infection & Immunology

Major/Minor/Specialisation !J07-MAJ+1007 (2010)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2010.

Year and Campus: 2010


Mrs Sandra Uren

Department of Microbiology and Immunology


Overview: Life on earth began with microorganisms and depends on their numerous activities which are mostly beneficial but sometimes disastrous. The human immune system has evolved to control harmful microbes but can itself inflict damage on its host. This major will examine and integrate Microbiology, the study of microorganisms with Immunology. Skills developed include the ability to acquire, analyse and apply information from multiple sources, including the laboratory. The major opens up careers in diagnostics, forensic microbiology, vaccine development, molecular biology, biotechnology and regulation, as well as further research into a range of infectious diseases, the genetics and pathogenesis of the causative agent, the various outcomes of the immune system in a setting of infection, autoimmunity, and cancer. It provides a basis for further study into medicine and other paramedical disciplines.
Objectives: On completion of this major, students should be able to:

  • describe the diverse range of microbes (bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites), and the ways in which they interact with their hosts, the environment and each other
  • explain the molecular basis of the ability of various microorganisms to cause disease, together with strategies to interrupt this process, including the development of new antibiotics and other agents.
  • explain the fundamental concepts of bacterial cell division, cell growth and the transfer of molecules and signals across the cell membrane
  • describe the way the immune system responds to defend the body against agents of infection
  • describe the mechanisms operating in response to tumours, transplants, and in allergies and autoimmune diseases.
  • explain strategies to both restrict and boost the immune response by the development of novel vaccines and other interventions.
  • describe the principles and procedures involved in the identification and characterisation of bacteria and viruses
  • describe the use of molecular techniques to identify and characterise determinants associated with disease
  • describe the principles and procedures involved in isolating and characterising immune cells and their products
  • communicate scientific ideas and findings effectively in both oral and written form.
Structure & Available Subjects:

This major consists of:

  • 50 credit points at the third year level
In order to complete this major, students have to complete the pre-requsiste 526-205 Microbes: Infections and Responses at the second year level.
Subject Options:

Second Year:

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Third Year:
Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Plus one subject from:
Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Links to further information: http://www.bbiomed.unimelb.edu.au/
Related Course(s): Bachelor of Biomedicine

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