BIOTECH 7004 - Molecular Microbiology and Vaccines

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2023

Recent advances in medical and microbial molecular biotechnology, have led to great strides in the understanding and treatment of human diseases. Recognising the impact of these advances on human health and economic development, scientists and industry are harnessing these enabling technologies to meet the new challenges in medical microbiology and infectious diseases. This course develops key concepts in molecular bacteriology and virology, identifying key targets for rational vaccine design, use of animal models to determine immune responses to vaccines and assessment of efficacy, development of new generation vaccines, and regulation of vaccine production and quality control.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code BIOTECH 7004
    Course Molecular Microbiology and Vaccines
    Coordinating Unit School of Biological Sciences
    Term Semester 2
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 4 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N
    Assumed Knowledge BIOCHEM 2500, MICRO 2500 or equivalent
    Restrictions Available to Graduate Certificate in Biotechnology (Biomedical), Graduate Diploma in Biotechnology (Biomedical), Master of Biotechnology (Biomedical) and Master of Biotechnology (Biomedical) (Advanced) students only
    Assessment Tutorial presentation & participation, written assignment, exam
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Antonio Focareta

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1 Demonstrate an awareness of the global burden of infectious diseases and understand its impact on world health and future implications for under-developed countries.
    2 Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of the factors that influence vaccine design and development.
    3 Develop an understanding of how research based discovery has driven vaccine development in current, emerging and,re-emerging infectious diseases.
    4 Critically analyse and interpret the model systems and data used to test the efficacy of vaccines.
    5 Develop the skills to critically assess the different types of vaccines available and their suitability for different diseases.
    6 Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of the development of next generation of vaccines to meet future global needs.
    7 Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of vaccines as a public health strategy.
    8 Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of strict quality control and regulation in the vaccine production process, and an awareness of issues associated with the manufacturing of vaccines such as good manufacturing practice.
    9 Demonstrate an understanding of the nature and variability of bacterial and virus antigens relevant to vaccine development.
    10 Develop ability to critically analyse, evaluate, and integrate information from scientific
    data and literature.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)

    Attribute 1: Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth

    Graduates have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject area, the ability to engage with different traditions of thought, and the ability to apply their knowledge in practice including in multi-disciplinary or multi-professional contexts.

    2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9

    Attribute 2: Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving

    Graduates are effective problems-solvers, able to apply critical, creative and evidence-based thinking to conceive innovative responses to future challenges.

    1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10

    Attribute 3: Teamwork and communication skills

    Graduates convey ideas and information effectively to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes and contribute in a positive and collaborative manner to achieving common goals.

    1, 3, 5, 7, 10

    Attribute 4: Professionalism and leadership readiness

    Graduates engage in professional behaviour and have the potential to be entrepreneurial and take leadership roles in their chosen occupations or careers and communities.

    1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10

    Attribute 5: Intercultural and ethical competency

    Graduates are responsible and effective global citizens whose personal values and practices are consistent with their roles as responsible members of society.

    1, 3, 5, 6, 7

    Attribute 7: Digital capabilities

    Graduates are well prepared for living, learning and working in a digital society.

    1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10

    Attribute 8: Self-awareness and emotional intelligence

    Graduates are self-aware and reflective; they are flexible and resilient and have the capacity to accept and give constructive feedback; they act with integrity and take responsibility for their actions.

    4, 5, 10
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    No specific text book is required. A manual outlining lecture topics and reference lists will beprovided.Suggested
    reading lists, journal articles, web sites and databases will also be
    provided as a basis for tutorial discussions and workshop assignments.
    Online Learning
    MyUni is an essential resource for this course and it is important for
    students to login regularly to check on important course-related
    announcements and material.
    Students will find the following on MyUni:
    All lectures are recorded 
    All lecture notes
    Tutorial papers
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    Two 50 minute lectures per week with a total of 18 lectures over the semester which are recorded for MyUni.

    Eight 2 hour tutorials over the semester.

    Tutorials will be delivered either via Zoom (for remote learning students) or face-to-face (for on-campus students). All students are expected to attend in either format. On-campus students are encouraged to attend Zoom sessions as well. All tutorial sessions are recorded and will be available for students. Time zone differences will be taken into account, with adjusted times for remote students (if applicable).

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    A student enrolled in this 3 unit course, should expect to spend, up to 12 hours per week on the studies required. This includes both the formal contact time required for the course (e.g., lectures, tutorials and workshop), as well as non-contact time (e.g., lecture revision and tutorial preparation).
    Learning Activities Summary
    Lecture Content:
    The lectures cover the following areas: Molecular Bacteriology and Virology, Contemporary vaccine use in controlling infectious disease, Immunological responses to vaccines, Next generation vaccines, Contemporary vaccine production and regulation and Case studies of Bacterial and Viral Vaccines.

    Tutorials are based on publications relating to the topics covered in lectures.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Task Type Percentage of total assessment for grading Hurdle Learning Outcome
    Tutorial presentation Formative and Summative


    No 1 -5, 9, 10
    Written assignment on a selected topic on vaccines Formative    25% No 1 - 10
    Written exam Formative

    2, 3, 5 - 7, 9
    Tutorial Questions Formative and Summative 5% No 1 -5, 9, 10
    Assessment Detail
    Tutorial presentation and participation:
    Each student will give two oral tutorial presentations based on published research articles
    relating to lecture topics over the semester (10% each).

    There is a participation mark of 5% as part of the tutorial presentations. Each student has to present a related research article on two occasions during the semester. The rest of the audience not presenting are usually required to actively participate after the presentation by asking and answering questions related to the topic. However, due to the difficulty of implementing this with the mixture of off-shore and on-campus students, the participation mark will be removed.

    One written assignment (of 2,500 words) on a selcted topic relating to vaccines.

    Final written Examination: A three hour exam covering lecture material only is held during the November examination period.

    Late Submission
    If an extension is not applied for, or not granted then a penalty for late submission will apply. A penalty of 10% of the value of the assignment for each calendar day that the assignment is late (i.e. weekends count as 2 days), up to a maximum of 50% of the available marks will be applied. This means that an assignment that is 5 days late or more without an approved extension can only receive a maximum of 50% of the marks available for that assignment.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.