cod. 1007878

Academic year 2023/24
3° year of course - Second semester
- Gabriele Andrea LUGLI
Academic discipline
Microbiologia generale (BIO/19)
Attività formative affini o integrative
Type of training activity
48 hours
of face-to-face activities
6 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Learning objectives

The course aims to provide the student with the knowledge to understand the main phenomena involved in the biological processes of bacteria.
It aims to provide a multidisciplinary approach (genomics and metagenomics) for a comprehensive understanding of microorganism-host interactions in the field of microbiology applied to human health.
At the end of the course, students are expected to be able to:
1. Understand and know how to interpret the vast biodiversity in the microbiological field;
2. Be able to analyze and interpret genomic and metagenomic data related to microbiological studies (e.g., Comparative Genomics, 16S rRNA gene profiling, Shotgun Metagenomics);
3. Know which microbiological aspects are directly related to human health;
4. Learn how to communicate scientific research results concerning the human microbiota by drafting a research report.



Course unit content

The course aims to familiarize the student with concepts and techniques related to the study of microbial genomics through the most innovative DNA sequencing techniques (e.g., Illumina, PacBio, Nanopore).
Among the fundamental topics of the course, the aim is to provide a holistic view of the molecular techniques used to study the composition and functionality of complex microbial communities (microbiome) defined as metagenomic techniques (e.g., 16S rRNA gene profiling, Shotgun Metagenomics).
Specifically, the course intends to provide up-to-date knowledge regarding the microbiota’s role in colonizing the human body, with particular attention to the gastrointestinal compartment, towards the host’s health status.
Finally, examples and applications of functional foods based on new-generation probiotics and prebiotics will be provided to prevent the onset of alterations in intestinal homeostasis, as well as innovative techniques such as the “Fecal Microbial Transplantation” for treating severe intestinal dysbiosis.

Full programme

The topics covered in the course are listed below:
1. Insight into the structure and function of prokaryotic cells;
2. Microbial biodiversity and interactions between microorganisms;
3. Identification and classification of microorganisms;
4. Microbial genomics and evolution of bacterial genomes;
5. Evolution of sequencing systems for the study of genomics and metagenomics;
6. Reconstruction of bacterial genomes and functional prediction of genes;
7. Comparative genomics and bacterial phylogenomics;
8. Metagenomic techniques for the profiling of complex microbial communities and Dark Matter;
9. The microbiota of humans: biodiversity of the microbial communities that colonize the human body;
10. Modern approaches in treating human health starting from the intestinal microbiota.


The reference textbook Biologia dei Microorganismi, Dehò, Galli, CEA is suggested.
The teacher will provide scientific articles and texts to understand each topic covered in class.
Furthermore, the slides of the lessons will be shared weekly with the students to guarantee a didactic reference of the teaching course.

Teaching methods

The course includes lectures with the projection of teaching material.
Each topic will be explored with the help of scientific articles that will allow the student to understand how the different topics are treated in the field of scientific research.
Furthermore, the course includes a practical part that will take place in the classroom and is aimed at providing the basics of genomic and metagenomic data management with the aid of bioinformatics software.

Assessment methods and criteria

The final exam consists of an oral presentation based on a scientific article covering the contents of the course. Questions will be asked on interconnected program topics based on the presented subject.
The evaluation of the exam will follow the following criteria present in the Dublin Descriptors:
1. Ability to communicate scientific topics related to the oral presentation;
2. Level of knowledge and understanding of the topics covered in class;
3. Ability to make connections between the topics presented and the different contents of the course;
4. Degree of mastery of the topics’ theoretical and practical aspects.
To students with specific learning disabilities (concerning the ministerial decree of 12 July 2011), dispensatory measures will be applied, and extra time will be granted up to a maximum of 30%. Also, in such circumstances, content will be valued more than form.

Other information