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Module code: BI839
Credits: 5
Semester: 2
Department: BIOLOGY
International: No
Coordinator: Dr Fiona Walsh (BIOLOGY)
Overview Overview

Module objectives: To introduce the students to antibiotic discovery and antibiotic resistance mechanisms and the tools used for both.

Module content: The series of lectures would start with a short introduction into how the antibiotics that we use today were discovered and developed over the past century. This would incorporate the discovery of the first antibiotics all the way to the use of screening genomes for the 'next big thing', to explaining that most pharmaceutical companies have abandoned their R & D in this area. The next section would introduce the students to the different classes of antibiotics, how they differ and how they interact with the bacteria to inhibit their growth or kill them. This section would also give a brief introduction to the pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics that are necessary for the antibiotic to function in the body. The following lectures would be a discussion of the different mechanisms of resistance and emerging resistance problems and epidemics of resistance currently of concern. The techniques used to measure antibiotic susceptibility or resistance in hospital laboratories and the molecular methods that we can now use would be described to highlight how a combination of phenotypic and molecular tools can aid the understanding of resistance. There will also be a section on the origins of antibiotic resistance and how resistance mechanisms may have entered into the human food chain or other possible routes of transmission to human pathogens and the importance of human waste in the propagation of resistance in the water supply and environment. The module would encompass human, agricultural and environmental antibiotic use and resistance to discuss the problem from a One Health perspective.

Lecture content (two lectures for each topic):
1. Antibiotic history and discovery from 20th to 21st century (1 lecture).
2. Antibiotic classes, mode of action and bacterial inhibition or killing and mechanisms of antibiotic resistance (10 lectures).
3. Emerging antibiotic resistance problems and epidemics worldwide (3 lectures).
4. Measuring antibiotic resistance (1 - 2 lectures).

This module is capped at 75 students.

Contact Dr. Fiona Walsh ( if you have registered for this module.

Open Learning Outcomes
Open Teaching & Learning methods
Open Assessment
Open Pre-Requisites
Open Timetable
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