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Te Tari Moromoroiti me te Ārai Mate

MICR 332: Health Microbiology

Second Semester - 18 points

Course prescription

Disease mechanisms of key microbial pathogens, including bacteria, protozoa, and fungi. Treatment or control of microbial diseases. Role of the human microbiome and commensals in health and disease.

Course overview

gutIn this paper, we will discuss select microbes that cause important human diseases, the impact of commensal microorganisms and the human microbiome on disease, and strategies developed to prevent or treat infections.

This paper is relevant to students who have an interest in medical microbiology. It is not designed for medical students, but rather for potential microbiological researchers, managers of medical practices or medical laboratories, or future makers of medical policy.

Lecture course overview

The lectures are divided into four modules. There will be one tutorial.

Associate Professor Keith Ireton: Molecular approaches to identify bacterial virulence factors and host susceptibility factors; Specific bacterial pathogens and their respective diseases

Dr Xochitl Morgan: Role of commensals and the human microbiome in health and disease

Dr James Ussher: Treatment of infections with antimicrobial agents; Vaccines

Dr Bruce Russell: Parasitology (protozoan pathogens)

Lab course overview

The human body is home to thousands of bacterial species. Many are innocuous, but others may be pathogenic.

In the MICR332 labs, you will plan your own experiments, develop a research project, and prepare a written report of your findings. You will investigate your own microflora by isolating bacteria from different body sites. You will then identify and characterise the isolated bacterial strains. You will also identify and characterise two ‘unknown’ medically relevant strains that are given to you.

You will be using differential and selective agar for the cultivation of bacteria and also a variety of medical laboratory assays to test for the production of known bacterial virulence factors.


  1. A laboratory report written in the style of a scientific paper (25%).
  2. A 20 question quiz on the laboratory material (5%).
  3. A 3-hour final exam on the lecture material (70%).

Course prerequisites

MICR221 and MICR223

Note: BBiomedSc students are permitted to take MICR332 without the MICR221 prerequisite.



Days and times: Wednesday, Friday 12:00 – 12:50 pm

Locations: TBA (Wednesdays) and TBA (Fridays)

Laboratory sessions (July 12th - August 3rd):

Days and times: Tuesday 2:00 PM- 5:50 PM; Wednesday 9:00 AM -5:50 PM

Note: You will also need to perform small amounts of lab work on other days. Times at which the lab is available are given in the MICR 332 lab manual.

Location: 3rd floor microbiology laboratory, Microbiology building.

Note: there are no lecture or practical clashes between any of the 300-level MICR papers


Essential text:

Bacterial pathogenesis: a Molecular Approach by Wilson, B.A., Salyer, A.A., Whitt, D.D. and Winkler, M.E. 2011, Third edition.American Society for Microbiology

Teaching staff

For more information


Download the course outline

View the details of this paper on the University of Otago website

Students are encouraged to contact staff by email to make arrangements for a time to discuss course-related matters.



For more information on this course, please contact Associate Professor Keith Ireton.