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Diagnostic Microbiology and Laboratory Methods (ICM7032)

Module convener:

Michele Branscombe, m.branscombe@qmul.ac.uk  

Other Key Staff:              

Mr James Winch                              

This module introduces the practical laboratory techniques to identify clinically important bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi. The practicals focus on traditional and modern molecular techniques for the identification of these organisms.  

The hands on practicals are studied in conjunction with the lectures of the Clinical microbiology: Pathogens and commensals module to develop a complete understanding of the organism, mechanisms of pathogenicity and laboratory diagnosis of clinically important micro-organisms.

This module offers the student

  • A working knowledge of the current health and safety issues relating to clinical laboratories in general with special reference to working in a containment level 2 laboratory with human samples and pathogens.
  • An understanding of the current health and safety issues relating to containment level 3 and 4 laboratories.
  • Experience identifying the major human pathogens and commensal bacteria.
  • Experience identifying the major human pathogens and commensal fungi.
  • Experience identifying the major human parasites and vectors.
  • Experience the serological techniques for identifying viral infections.
  • An understanding of modern identification techniques including molecular identification and automated identification of organisms.
  • An understanding of how to evaluate new techniques and tests for use in research and in the diagnostic laboratory.

At the end of this module students will be able to:

  • Work safely in a containment level 2 laboratory with human samples and pathogens.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the current health and safety issues relating to containment level 3 and 4 laboratories.
  • Identifying the major human pathogens and commensal bacteria using microscopy, biochemical and molecular tests.
  • Identify the major human pathogens and commensal fungi using microscopy, biochemical and molecular tests.
  • Identify the major human parasites and vectors using microscopy, biochemical and molecular tests.
  • Apply serological techniques for identifying viral infections.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of modern identification techniques including molecular identification and automated identification of organisms.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of how to evaluate new techniques and tests for use in research and in the diagnostic laboratory.

Students are expected to develop a strong basic background from text books but this must be supplemented by research in current scientific literature.

Suggested background texts include:

Murray et al: Manual of clinical microbiology or de la Maza et al: Colour Atlas of clinical microbiology. Or District laboratory practice in tropical countries parts 1 and 2 or
similar.

Campbell et al: Identification of pathogenic fungi or Larone: Medically important fungi: a guide to identification or similar

Garcia: Practical guide to diagnostic parasitology or Zeibig: Clinical parasitology: A practical approach or similar

Kudesia and Wreghitt: Clinical diagnostic virology.or Specter et al: Clinical virology manual
or similar.

Basic laboratory skills

This assessment is designed to assess basic laboratory skills.
Type of assessment: Practical exam
Duration: 90 minutes
Percentage weighting in module: 10%
Pass mark: 50%
Qualifying mark: 40%

Bacteriology Practical examination

This assessment is designed to assess the skills and ability to apply them developed during the module.
Type of assessment: Practical examination and spots.
Duration: 3 hours
Percentage weighting in module: 20%

Practical examination

This assessment is designed to assess the skills and ability to apply them developed during the module.
Type of assessment: Practical examination and spots during formal examination period.
Duration: 3 hours
Percentage weighting in module: 70%

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