Learning outcomes of the course unit
The objectives of the Microbiology course are to enable the acquisition of
knowledge and understanding about morphology, structural organization, genetics and classification of bacteria, fungi, parasites and viruses;
metabolism and mode of reproduction of bacteria, fungi, and parasites, and virus replication; host-parasite interactions and pathogenesis of
infectious diseases; mode of action of the major antimicrobial and antiviral agents and their mechanisms of resistance; major bacterial, fungal, parasitic and viral agents of infectious diseases in humans. The course also aims to provide the ability to apply in occupational contexts
the knowledge and understanding gained in the field of Microbiology.
Course contents summary
Introduction to Microbiology. General characteristics of bacteria. Host-bacterium
interactions and mechanisms of pathogenicity. Antibacterial
drugs, mechanisms of action and resistance. Morphological, cultural,
antigenic, pathogenetic characteristics, and drug susceptibility of the main bacterial agents of infectious diseases in humans. Antibacterial
immunoprophylaxis. General characteristics of fungi. Host-fungus
interactions and mechanisms of pathogenicity. Antifungal drugs,
mechanisms of action and resistance. Etiological agents of human mycoses. General characteristics of protozoa, helminths and arthropods of medical interest,
mechanisms of pathogenicity. Antiparasitic drugs. Life cycle of the main
protozoa and helminths agents of infectious diseases in humans. Major
parasitic arthropods of medical interest. General characteristics and mechanisms of pathogenicity of viruses. Antiviral drugs, mechanisms of
action and resistance. Viroids, virusoids, and prions. Morphological,
structural, cultural, antigenic, and pathogenetic characteristics of the main
viral agents of infectious diseases in humans. Antiviral
INTRODUCTION. Evolution of microorganisms and Microbiology.
Classification of the etiologic agents of infectious diseases. General
information on infectious diseases (endogenous and exogenous
infections, routes of transmission, epidemiology). GENERAL
BACTERIOLOGY. The bacterial cell (morphology, structure and chemical
composition, Gram staining). Metabolism and reproduction. The spore.
Bacterial cultivation (culture media, growth curve). Bacterial genetics (mutations,
plasmids, transposable elements, bacteriophages: lytic and lysogenic
cycle, recombination mechanisms: transformation, conjugation,
transduction). Host-microorganism relationships. The resident microbiota.
Bacterial pathogenic action (pathogenicity and virulence, invasiveness
and/or toxigenicity, adhesion, lytic enzymes, immunoevasion, endotoxins and exotoxins). Antibacterial drugs, mechanisms of action and resistance.
Susceptibility testing. SYSTEMATIC BACTERIOLOGY. Morphological,
cultural, antigenic and pathogenetic characters, and drug susceptibility of
the major species of the genera/families Staphylococcus, Streptococcus,
Enterococcus, Bacillus, Corynebacterium, Listeria, Gardnerella,
Mycobacterium, Actinomyces, Nocardia, Neisseria, Enterobacteriaceae
(Escherichia, Salmonella, Shigella, Yersinia), Vibrio, Campylobacter,
Helicobacter, Brucella, Haemophilus, Bordetella, Pseudomonas,
Legionella, Clostridium, Treponema, Borrelia, Leptospira, Bartonella,
Rickettsia, Chlamydia, Mycoplasma and other species of medical interest.
Antibacterial vaccines and immune sera. GENERAL MYCOLOGY. Structure
of the fungal cell. Yeasts and molds. Metabolism. Mode of reproduction.
Dimorphism. Pathogenicity. Classification of fungi and mycoses. Ecology
and geographical distribution. Antifungal drugs, mechanisms of action and resistance. SYSTEMATIC MYCOLOGY. Etiologic agents of superficial,
mucocutaneous, subcutaneous and deep-seated mycoses. GENERAL
PARASITOLOGY. Protozoa, metazoa (helminths) and arthropods of medical interest.
Classification. Pathogenicity. Antiparasitic drugs. SYSTEMATIC
PARASITOLOGY. Life cycle of major flagellate protozoan parasites of the
intestinal and urogenital tract (Giardia, Trichomonas, Dientamoeba) and
blood and tissues (Trypanosoma, Leishmania); host-associated
(Entamoeba) and free-living (Acanthamoeba, Balamuthia, Naegleria)
amoebae; sporozoa parasites of blood and tissues (Plasmodium,
Toxoplasma, Babesia) and intestinal tract (Sarcocystis, Cryptosporidium,
Cystoisospora, Cyclospora); ciliates (Balantidium); Microsporidia. Life
cycle of cestodes, nematodes and trematodes parasites of blood, tissues
and intestinal tract. Major arthropods of medical interest. GENERAL
VIROLOGY. Chemical composition, morphology and structure of viruses.
Sensitivity to chemical and physical agents. Classification. Viral
replication cycle (adsorption, penetration, exposure and nucleic acid
replication, virus specific protein synthesis, assembly and release of
virions). Genetic variability of viruses. Cultivation (cytophatic effect).
Pathogenicity. Oncogenic viruses. Interferon and other mechanisms of
viral interference. Antiviral drugs, mechanisms of action and resistance.
SYSTEMATIC VIROLOGY. Morphological, structural, cultural, antigenic and
pathogenetic characters of members of the families of deossiriboviruses
(Poxviridae, Herpesviridae, Adenoviridae, Papillomaviridae,
Polyomaviridae, Hepadnaviridae, Parvoviridae) and riboviruses
(Orthomyxoviridae, Paramyxoviridae, Rhabdoviridae, Filoviridae,
Coronaviridae, Togaviridae, Flaviviridae, Caliciviridae, Astroviridae, Picornaviridae, Arenaviridae, Bunyaviridae, Reoviridae, Retroviridae).
Viroids, virusoids, and prions. Antiviral vaccines and immune sera.
M. La Placa. Principi di Microbiologia Medica. Società Editrice Esculapio,
Bologna -EdiSES, Napoli.
P.R. Murray, K.S. Rosenthal, M.A. Pfaller. “Microbiologia Medica”, edra
The topics concerning the contents of the course will be presented and
discussed through lectures with the help of iconographic material which
will be made available to the students. During the lessons the main
concepts of each topic will be exposed, emphasizing the links between the various parts of the course and encouraging the active participation
of the students.
Assessment methods and criteria
Learning outcomes will be verified through an oral examination. No
interim evaluation is programmed. Questions on the topics relating to the
course content will be used to verify the student’s knowledge and understanding in the field, and her/his ability to apply the knowledge and
understanding in occupational contexts. Failure to answer to one question, or proven inability to demonstrate at least a basic knowledge
on the subject, will prevent the successful completion of the exam. Upon successful completion of the examination, a grade will be attributed
according to the degree of achievement of the objectives (excellent,
good, fair, fully sufficient, barely sufficient, in the range between 30/30
and 18/30). Honors will be reserved to students demonstrating particular communication skills and independent learning ability.