cod. 1009805

Academic year 2023/24
2° year of course - First semester
- Adriana CALDERARO - Giuliana LO CASCIO
Academic discipline
Microbiologia e microbiologia clinica (MED/07)
Patologia generale e molecolare, immunopatologia, fisiopatologia generale, microbiologia e parassitologia
Type of training activity
60 hours
of face-to-face activities
6 credits
course unit

Integrated course unit module: Immunology & Microbiology

Learning objectives

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 (protozoa, helminths, arthropods) and viruses of medical interest; metabolism and mode of reproduction of bacteria, fungi, parasites, and virus replication; host-parasite interactions and pathogenesis of infectious diseases; mode of action of the major antimicrobial and antiviral agents and mechanisms of drug-resistance; major 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 unit content

Introduction to Microbiology. General and Systematic Bacteriology: Host-bacterium interactions and mechanisms of bacterial pathogenicity. Antibacterial drugs, mechanisms of action and resistance. Morphological, cultural, antigenic, and pathogenetic characters of the main bacterial agents of infectious diseases in humans.
General and Systematic Mycology. General characters of fungi. Host-fungus interactions and mechanisms of pathogenicity. Antifungal drugs, mechanisms of action and resistance. Etiological agents of human mycoses.
General and Systematic Parasitology. Infections and infestations. Host-parasite interactions. Epidemiology of parasitic infections and infestations. Medically important human parasitic Protozoa, Helminths and Arthropods.
General and Systematic Virology. Definition of virus. Morphology and structure of viruses. Viral replication steps. Cultivation of viruses. Viral genetics. Phenotypic and genotypic interactions between viruses. Viral interference. Pathogenesis of viral infections; virus-host interactions. Notes on epidemiology and prophylaxis of viral infections; notes on therapy with antiviral drugs. Virus classification. Medically relevant DNA and RNA viruses.

Full programme

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. Bacterial metabolism and reproduction. Bacterial spore. Bacterial cultivation (culture media, growth curve). Bacterial genetics (mutations, plasmids, transposable elements,
bacteriophages: lytic and lysogenic cycle, recombination mechanisms: transformation, conjugation, transduction). Bacterial pathogenicity and virulence factors (adhesion, exoenzymes, endotoxin and exotoxins, biofilm production, immunoevasion). Antibacterial drugs, mechanisms of action and resistance. Antibacterial susceptibility testing.
SYSTEMATIC BACTERIOLOGY. Morphology, cultivation, antigenicity, mechanisms of pathogenicity and drug susceptibility of the following bacteria: Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, Enterococcus, Bacillus, Corynebacterium, Listeria, Mycobacterium, Actinomyces, Nocardia, Neisseria, Enterobacteriaceae (Escherichia, Salmonella, Shigella, Edwardsiella, Citrobacter, Klebsiella, Enterobacter, Hafnia, Serratia, Proteus, Morganella, Providencia, Yersinia), Vibrio, Campylobacter, Helicobacter, Brucella, Haemophilus, Bordetella, Pseudomonas, Acinetobacter, Legionella, Clostridium and Clostridioides, other anaerobic bacteria (Peptostreptococcus, Bacteroides, Porphyromonas, Prevotella, Fusobacterium, Bifidobacterium, Propionibacterium), Spirochetaceae (Treponema, Borrelia, Leptospira, Brachyspira), Bartonella, Rickettsia, Chlamydia e Chlamydophila, Mycoplasma.
GENERAL MYCOLOGY. Structure of the fungal cell. Yeasts and molds. Fungal metabolism and mode of reproduction. Dimorphism. Fungal pathogenicity. Classification of fungi and mycoses. Fungal 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. Parasitism, commensalism, mutualism. Infections and infestations. Host-parasite interactions. Epidemiology of parasitic infections and infestations.
SYSTEMATIC PARASITOLOGY. Parasitic Protozoa of medical interest. Life cycle of the most important blood and tissue parasitic protozoa: haemoflagellates (Leishmania, Trypanosoma); human malaria parasites; Toxoplasma gondii; free-living amoebas (Acanthamoeba, Naegleria). Life cycle of the most important parasitic protozoa of the intestinal and urogenital tracts: host-associated amoebas (Entamoeba histolytica); ciliates (Balantidium coli); coccidia (Cryptosporidium, Cyclospora, Cystoisospora); microsporidia; flagellates (Dientamoeba fragilis, Giardia intestinalis, Trichomonas vaginalis). Parasitic helminths of humans. Life cycle of the most important blood and tissue parasitic helminths: cestodes (Echinococcus - hydatidosis; Taenia solium - cysticercosis); nematodes (Filaria, Trichinella, Toxocara); trematodes (Fasciola, Schistosoma).
Life cycle of the most important intestinal parasitic helminths: cestodes (Diphyllobotrium latum, Hymenolepis nana, Taenia saginata, Taenia solium); nematodes (Enterobius vermicularis, Ascaris lumbricoides, Ancylostoma, Strongyloides stercoralis, Trichuris trichiura). Notes on the most important parasitic arthropods of medical interest and antiparasitic drugs.
GENERAL VIROLOGY. Definition of viruses. Morphology and structure of viruses: icosahedral symmetry, helical symmetry, complex structure, combined structure. Chemical composition of viruses: nucleic acids, proteins, lipids, carbohydrates. Quantitative determination of viruses: physical determinations; viral haemagglutination; infectivity assays. Viral replication steps: adsorption, penetration, uncoating. Expression and replication of DNA and RNA viral genomes. Maturation of viral particles and release from the host cell. Cultivation of viruses: in cell cultures in vitro, in chicken embryos, in animals. Viral genetics: induction of mutations by physical and chemical agents, different types of mutants, co-variation. Phenotypic interactions between viruses: complementation, phenotypic mixing. Genotypic interactions: intramolecular recombination, genetic reassortment. Viral interference in the frame of viral replication cycle; interferon-mediated interference. Pathogenesis of viral infections; virus-host interactions (abortive infection, persistent infection, virus-induced cell transformation). Notes on the epidemiology and prophylaxis of viral infections; notes on antiviral drugs. Virus classification based on pathogenetic and epidemiological characteristics, or on chemical, physical, biological and antigenic characteristics.
SYSTEMATIC VIROLOGY. Natural history of infections caused by medically relevant DNA viruses (Adenoviridae, Herpesviridae, Poxviridae, Hepadnaviridae, Papillomaviridae, Polyomaviridae, Parvoviridae) and RNA viruses (Picornaviridae, Caliciviridae, Hepeviridae, Togaviridae, Matonaviridae, Flaviviridae, Coronaviridae, Orthomyxoviridae, Paramyxoviridae, Pneumoviridae, Rhabdoviridae, Filoviridae, Reoviridae, Retroviridae).


Sherris & Ryan’s Medical Microbiology. Editor Ryan KJ. McGraw Hill. Eighth Edition, 2022.
Murray PR, Rosenthal KS, Pfaller MA, Medical Microbiology. Ninth Edition, Elsevier, 2021.

Teaching methods

The topics concerning the contents of the course will be presented and discussed through lectures. 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. Lectures will be held on-site in compliance with safety standards. Supporting material will be available on the specific, student-reserved platform (Elly) and will include slide presentations of the lectures.

Assessment methods and criteria

Learning outcomes will be verified through a written test (multiple-choice questions) followed by an oral examination. No interim evaluation is programmed. Questions on the topics of the course 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. The overall evaluation will take into account both tests. 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. Students with Learning Disabilities/Special Educational Needs must first contact the Centro di Accoglienza e Inclusione of the University (

Other information

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