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Molecular Microbiology

Molecular Microbiology

5 ECTS credits
125 h study time

Offer 1 with catalog number 4017430ENR for all students in the 1st semester at a (E) Master - advanced level.

Information about this course is applicable on academic year 2017-2018.

1st semester
Enrollment based on exam contract
Grading method

Grading (scale from 0 to 20)

Can retake in second session
Taught in
Faculty of Science and Bio-engineering Sciences
Responsible organisation
Bio-Engineering Sciences
Educational Team:
Activities and contact hours
  • 26 contact hours Lecture
  • 45 contact hours Seminar, Exercises or Practicals
Course content

In this course, students will gain deeper insights into the sensing and regulatory mechanisms that enable microorganisms to respond to changes in cell physiology and in the environment. These principles are looked at from the point of signal reception and transduction, down to the level of the resulting transcriptional, post-transcriptional and post-translational responses and finally to the changes in cellular physiology. Molecular mechanisms will be studied across different phylogenetic lineages (grampositive and gramnegative bacteria, archaea, eukaryal microorganisms). The course is divided into two partims: "Molecular regulation in microbial cells” (Prof. Dr. Ir. Eveline Peeters) and "Microbial physiology” (Prof. Dr. Han Remaut). In the first partim, the following topics will be discussed: transcription factors, two-component and phosphorelay signal transduction, alternative sigma factors, small regulatory RNAs, chemotaxis, quorum sensing and biofilm formation. In the second partim, the following topics are included: cell division, cell polarity, the bacterial cytoskeleton, bacterial defense/offense mechanisms, protein folding, thiol redox pathways and unfolded protein response.  Throughout the course, students will gain an overview of the main research methodologies used in typical molecular microbiology studies, such that they can workout experimental approaches to test and validate research hypotheses.

Course material
  • Digital course material (Required): Lecture slides and recent (review) articles made available on PointCarré, E. Peeters / H. Remaut
Additional info

Students need to pass for both partims in order to pass for the course. In case a score < 10/20 is obtained for one of the two partims and the average score is > 10/20, the final score corresponds to the lowest partim score. However, students obtain an exemption for every partim with a score > 10/20 and will only need to retake the failed partim exam(s).

Programme Objectives

General competences

Students can explain the molecular mechanisms and principles of (complex) regulatory responses and physiological processes in microbial cells.

Students can describe research methodologies used in molecular microbiology and can propose experimental approaches to test and validate research hypotheses.

Students can critically analyze original research papers in the field of molecular microbiology and can formulate the major research hypothesis, significance and key conclusions from each of these papers.


The final grade is composed based on the following categories:

  • Oral Exam determines 80% of the final mark.
  • Practical Exam determines 20% of the final mark.

Within the Oral Exam category, the following assignments need to be completed:

Oral exam partim Peeters with a relative weight of 4 which comprises 40% of the final mark.

Note: Oral examination with a written preparation, critical analysis of a research article.

Oral exam partim Remaut with a relative weight of 4 which comprises 40% of the final mark.

Note: Oral examination.

Within the Practical Exam category, the following assignments need to be completed:

Group presentation with a relative weight of 2 which comprises 20% of the final mark.

Note: Poster presentation of results of practical work.

Additional info with regard to grading

Not applicable.