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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Almira S Beins
MICROM 443
Seattle Campus

Medical Bacteriology Laboratory

Required for medical technology students, microbiology majors; elective for medical students. Procedures for isolation and identification of pathogenic bacteria, testing their susceptibility to antibiotics. No auditors. Prerequisite: BIOL 200; recommended: MICROM 410. Offered: AW.

Class description

The first part of the course covers specific medically important bacteria (for example, Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, Listeria, Corynebacterium, Neisseria, Clostridium and members of the family Enterobacteriaceae), including their morphology, biochemical characteristics and medical significance.

The latter portion of the course covers the same organisms, but in the context of the specimens in which they are commonly found. For example, a sputum specimen from a patient with pneumonia is plated onto various media appropriate for the isolation and identification of common respiratory pathogens. From a particular specimen site, students learn about normal microbiota, common pathogens, and media used in the lab work-up. Obviously, a student's understanding of the material in the latter portion of the course is dependent on the retention of information covered in the initial portion.

Because medically important bacteria often have subtle but critical characteristics, students also learn to exercise their observational and analytical skills.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

General information is introduced during periodic lectures given by the laboratory instructors or guest lecturers who work in clinical laboratories. The majority of time, however, is devoted to hands on laboratory work in which students utilize their skills to isolate and identify medically important bacteria. The laboratory instructor routinely circulates in the lab to give each student one-on-one feedback with respect to their observations, understanding of material and conclusions.

Recommended preparation

Students should have a solid background in basic biology and an understanding of the time commitment needed to learn and apply complex information. Most incoming students will have had previous microbiology courses, including labs. Students who do not have a microbiology background can still succeed but will need to make an extra effort to learn three basic skills; Gram staining, making a streak plate and using the microscope.

Class assignments and grading

tudents are expected to prepare ahead for each lab by reading their lab manual and making a rough mental plan of how they will proceed with the day's scheduled activities. Throughout the quarter, students will receive "unknowns", mixtures of bacteria, which they are expected to identify. Quizzes are given approximately weekly. The midterm and final exam are practicals in which students demonstrate their laboratory skills and/or answer questions about an accompanying laboratory prop.

Grades will be based on the following: Quizzes 20-25% Midterm 20-25% Final 45-50% Unknowns 10-15%

Final grades are calculated by first determining the average of the top 3 undergraduate grades. That number is then used as the 100% by which grades are calculated according to the following scale:

Final grades are calculated by first determining the average of the top 3 undergraduate grades. That number is then used as the 100% by which grades are calculated according to the scale found in the lab manual and in the course website.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Almira S Beins
Date: 09/22/2013