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. 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 their 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.
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. 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. Antiviral vaccines and immune sera. 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.
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 MASSON.
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.