Microbes, Infection and Immunity (BMED2404)


This unit of study begins by introducing the concepts of disease transmission, pathogenicity and virulence mechanisms of microbes. For a full understanding of the process of infection, the structure and function of pathogenic microorganisms is examined. How the body deals with injury and infection is discussed by exploring barriers to infection and host response once those barriers are breached. The body's response to such physical damage is dealt with in a series of lectures on wound healing, clotting and inflammation, and is complemented by discussion of the pharmacological basis of anti-inflammatory drugs. This is followed by a comprehensive discussion of molecular and cellular immune responses to pathogen invasion. In particular, this gives students an appreciation of the processing of antigens, the structure, production and diversity of antibodies, the operation of the complement system and mechanisms for recognition and destruction of invading microbes. The unit concludes with an overview of microbial diseases, the characteristics of causative agents, pathogenesis and symptoms as well as treatment and control and culminates with exploring current issues of antibiotic resistance, important emerging infections and vaccination strategies.

Practical classes illustrate and underpin the lecture content. Students will investigate normal flora, host defences and medically important microbes and will obtain experience in, and an understanding of, a range of techniques in bacteriology. In these practical sessions experience will be gained handling live, potentially pathogenic microbes.

Our courses that offer this unit of study

Further unit of study information


2 lec & 1 prac/wk, 2 tut


One 2hr theory exam (60%), in-semester assessments (40%)


Prescott's Microbiology Willey JM, Sherwood LM and Woolverton CJ McGraw-Hill, 9th Edition, 2014; Basic Immunology: Functions and Disorders of the Immune System. Abass AK and Lichtman AH WB Saunders, 4th Edition, 2013; Robbins Basic Pathology Kumar V, Cotran KS and Robbins SL Saunders, Philadelphia, 9th Edition, 2012

Faculty/department permission required?


Unit of study rules

Prerequisites and assumed knowledge

42 credit points from {(MBLG1001 or MBLG1901 or MBLG1991) and (12 credit points of CHEM1XXX) and (12 credit points of MATH1XXX) and (6 credit points of BIOL1XXX) and [(12 credit points of PHYS1XXX (except PHYS1500)) or (12 credit points of PSYC1XXX) or (6 credit points of PHYS1XXX (except PHYS1500) and 6 credit points of PSYC1XXX) or (12 credit points of Engineering)]}"


PHSI2005 or ANAT2010 or ANAT2910 or ANAT2008 or MICR2022 or MICR2021 or BMED2807 or BIOL2016 or PHSI2905 or BIOL2006 or PHSI2006 or NUTR2912 or NUTR2911 or IMMU2101 or BCHM2972 or BIOL2906 or PHSI2906 or MICR2921 or BIOL2916 or BCHM2072 or PCOL2011 or MICR2922 

Study this unit outside a degree

Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.