Undergraduate major: microbiology (B.S.)
Undergraduate minor: microbiology
Faculty: https://medicine.uiowa.edu/microbiology/people/primary-appointments
Website: https://medicine.uiowa.edu/microbiology/

Study in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology is dedicated to the branch of biological sciences that investigates the smallest living things: microbes that include bacteria, archaea, fungi, algae, protozoa, and viruses. It is coupled with immunology that includes the study of the protective responses of higher organisms to disease-causing microbes and cancers, and mistakes in immune function. Microbiology and immunology often interact in humans at the microbiome, those microbes that live with humans on their skin and mucosal surfaces, and yet must be restricted from causing disease by the immune system.

Microbiology and immunology are at the forefront of the modern biological revolution. Microbes and the microbiome are often the experimental subjects of choice for examining genetic and biological phenomena because of their small size, rapid growth rate, relative simplicity, and variety of characteristics that allow them to cause many kinds of infections and alter normal body functions. Immunology often makes use of microbes and cancer cells to study the critical and complex human response to eliminate microbes and cancers. A significant portion of contemporary biochemical research employs microbiological and immunological methods.

Current research is making theoretical and practical advances concerning microbes that infect animals, including humans, and the immune response to those microbes; the use of comparative genomics, gene expression profiling, and recombinant DNA methods to analyze biological processes and generate valuable products, such as antibiotics and antibodies; genetics and regulation of metabolic processes; and the genetics and regulation of the immune response, including characterization of mechanisms used by microbes to signal one another and characterization of interactions between different types of immune cells and their targets.

The Department of Microbiology and Immunology offers an undergraduate major and a minor, and determines the curricula for those programs. Undergraduates majoring in microbiology receive their degrees (Bachelor of Science) from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and are governed by that college's undergraduate academic policies.

Undergraduate Programs of Study

Major

Minor

Graduate Programs of Study

Majors

  • Master of Science in Microbiology
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Microbiology

Students interested in doctoral studies in microbiology should apply under the newly created umbrella program in Biomedical Science (select microbiology subprogram). Direct applications to the M.S. and Ph.D. in microbiology are not currently being considered. Students who entered a graduate microbiology program prior to fall 2017 can refer to the 2015-16 General Catalog for previous degree requirements.

The Department of Microbiology and Immunology is situated on the University of Iowa health sciences campus, where it shares the Bowen Science Building with the Departments of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Biochemistry, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, and Pharmacology. Laboratory space and modern equipment are available for teaching and research.

Microbiology and Immunology Courses

MICR:1000 First-Year Seminar1 s.h.

Small discussion class taught by a faculty member; topics chosen by instructor.

MICR:1006 Small Wonders: Microbes in Our Lives3 s.h.

Basic principles of microbial world for nonscience majors; introduction to bacteria, viruses, and fungi; how they differ from more complex cells, how they are found in every environment on earth and on every human body, their uses to benefit humans, their ability to cause illness in humans and animals.

MICR:2157 General Microbiology3 s.h.

Principles of bacterial and viral diversity, structure, genetics, physiology, and metabolism in contexts of molecular biology, immunology, infectious disease, and environmental microbiology. Prerequisites: BIOL:1411.

MICR:2158 General Microbiology Laboratory2 s.h.

Practice of basic techniques commonly used today for study of easy-to-grow microorganisms; variety of individual and group lab activities that challenge students to apply observations about bacteria and viruses. Corequisites: MICR:2157, if not taken as a prerequisite.

MICR:3112 Pharmacy Microbiology4 s.h.

Medical microbiology: bacteriology, immunology, pathogenic bacteriology, virology, mycology, parasitology. Requirements: pre-pharmacy standing.

MICR:3147 Immunology and Human Disease3 s.h.

Important principles and key concepts in immunology with a focus on the involvement of the immune system in disease pathogenesis; overview of innate and adaptive immune systems and their functions at cellular and molecular levels. Prerequisites: BIOL:1411 with a minimum grade of C and BIOL:1412 with a minimum grade of C.

MICR:3159 Bacteria and Human Disease3 s.h.

Infection and replication strategies of bacteria with an emphasis on human disease; for students interested in microbiology or other biological sciences, epidemiology, and/or health-related occupations. Prerequisites: MICR:2157 with a minimum grade of C.

MICR:3160 Molecular Microbiology3 s.h.

Microbes colonize a wide range of diverse environments from deep sea thermal vents to ice covered arctic lakes to the human body; students explore the genetics, molecular, and cell biology of a range of microorganisms, including microbial cell organization, macromolecular assembly, molecular structure and function, cell division and DNA replication, fundamentals of gene regulation, bacterial differentiation, antibiotic resistance, and microbial interactions; provides a strong foundation in molecular microbiology with an emphasis on familiarizing students with the techniques commonly used in modern microbiology research. Prerequisites: MICR:2157 with a minimum grade of C and (BIOC:3120 or BIOC:3110).

MICR:3164 Nursing Microbiology4 s.h.

Overview of bacteria, viruses, and eukaryotic microorganisms that cause human disease; microbial structure, growth control and reproduction; immunology in the context of host defense mechanisms. Prerequisites: BIOL:1411 or BIOL:1140 or BIOL:1141. Requirements: pre-nursing standing.

MICR:3165 Bacteria and Human Disease Laboratory2 s.h.

Experimental design and methodologies used to study bacteria with an emphasis on human disease; for students interested in microbiology or other biological sciences, epidemiology, and/or health-related occupations. Prerequisites: MICR:2157 with a minimum grade of C and MICR:2158 with a minimum grade of C. Corequisites: MICR:3159, if not taken as a prerequisite.

MICR:3168 Viruses and Human Disease3 s.h.

Infection and replication strategies of viruses with an emphasis on human disease; for microbiology majors as well as students interested in pre-medicine, biological sciences, epidemiology, and/or other health-related occupations. Prerequisites: BIOL:1411 with a minimum grade of C or MICR:2157 with a minimum grade of C.

MICR:3170 Microbial Genetics3 s.h.

Genetics of bacteria, bacteriophages. Prerequisites: BIOL:2512 with a minimum grade of C or MICR:2157 with a minimum grade of C.

MICR:3175 Molecular Microbiology and Genetics Laboratory3 s.h.

Introductory research experience in bacterial genetics (including classical, molecular, bioinformatics, and biostatistical approaches); students tackle real (not cookbook) research projects designed to foster critical thinking skills and generate original data, formulate hypotheses, design and interpret experiments, read primary literature, present their findings, and develop scientific writing skills. Prerequisites: MICR:2157 or BIOL:2512. Recommendations: MICR:3170.

MICR:3178 Virology Laboratory and Discussion3 s.h.

Practical approaches to studying viruses; basic techniques in virology, including virus detection, virus growth measurement, and virus genetics; students will read and discuss papers from the virology literature that address current issues in virology. Prerequisites: MICR:2157 with a minimum grade of C and MICR:2158 with a minimum grade of C. Corequisites: MICR:3168. Requirements: grade of C or higher in MICR:2157 (061:157).

MICR:3179 Bacterial Diversity and the Human Microbiome3 s.h.

Discussion-based setting with a focus on the molecular basis of microbial diversity including mechanisms for gene expression, microbial populations, and the microbiome; emphasis on sequencing technologies, bioinformatics, and databases. Prerequisites: MICR:2157.

MICR:3190 Web-Based Nursing Microbiology4 s.h.

Nursing microbiology, principles of immunology; web-based instruction. Prerequisites: BIOL:1140 or BIOL:1411 or BIOL:1141. Requirements: pre-nursing standing.

MICR:4161 Undergraduate Research in Microbiologyarr.

Experimental research under faculty supervision. Prerequisites: BIOL:1411.

MICR:4163 Seminar: Microbiology2 s.h.

Current topics in microbiology, immunology, and virology. Prerequisites: 2 of the following are required: MICR:3147 with a minimum grade of C, MICR:3159 with a minimum grade of C, MICR:3160 with a minimum grade of C, MICR:3168 with a minimum grade of C, MICR:3170 with a minimum grade of C. Requirements: senior standing.

MICR:4169 Topics in Viral Biology and Pathogenesis1 s.h.

Topics include viral life cycles, immune response, antiviral treatments, potential for vaccine, animal models; lectures introducing subject matter; discussion of literature relevant to each week's topic. Prerequisites: MICR:3168 with a minimum grade of C.

MICR:4171 Honors Undergraduate Research in Microbiologyarr.

Experimental research under faculty supervision. Prerequisites: BIOL:1411. Requirements: microbiology major, junior or senior standing, 3.33 overall g.p.a., and 3.33 g.p.a. in microbiology courses.

MICR:5218 Microscopy for Biomedical Researcharr.

Basic microscopy methods for research including optics, preparation, and analysis of biomedical specimens; light, fluorescence, confocal, transmitting electron, scanning electron, atomic force microscopes, elemental analysis; immunochemistry and stereology techniques; individualized laboratory instruction. Prerequisites: BIOL:2723. Same as ACB:5218, BIOL:5218.

MICR:5220 Advanced Microscopy for Biomedical Researcharr.

Technically advanced microscopy and instrumentation for research; individualized laboratory experience with opportunity to explore applications of microscopy methods. Requirements: for ACB:5220—an introductory microscopy course; for BIOL:5220ACB:4156 or ACB:5218 or CBE:4156 or EES:4156 or MICR:5218; for MICR:5220—an introductory EM course. Same as ACB:5220, BIOL:5220.

MICR:5264 Directed Study in Microbiologyarr.

MICR:5875 Perspectives in Biocatalysis1-3 s.h.

Applied enzymology, protein design, structure-activity relationships, biosensor technology, microbial transformations, biodegradation of environmental pollutants. Requirements: graduate standing in a participating department supported by the Predoctoral Training Program in Biotechnology. Same as BIOC:5875, CBE:5875, CEE:5875, CHEM:5875, PHAR:5875.

MICR:6201 Graduate Immunology3 s.h.

Ontogeny, activation, and function of T lymphocytes and B lymphocytes; innate immune effector mechanisms; major histocompatibility complex; antigen presentation; thymocyte positive and negative selection; signaling of T lymphocytes, B lymphocytes; emphasis on experimental methods for analysis of these processes. Requirements: for IMMU:6201—college biology, general chemistry, and introductory immunology courses; for MICR:6201—courses in college biology, genetics, general chemistry, and introductory immunology. Recommendations: for IMMU:6201—courses in biochemistry and genetics; for MICR:6201—biochemistry course. Same as IMMU:6201.

MICR:6247 Graduate Immunology and Human Disease4 s.h.

Important principles and key concepts in immunology with a focus on the involvement of the immune system in disease pathogenesis; overview of innate and adaptive immune systems and their functions at cellular and molecular levels; learning enhanced by case-based, small-group discussion and writing exercises. Same as IMMU:6247.

MICR:6250 Mechanisms of Parasitism Journal Club1 s.h.

Reviews of recent publications in molecular parasitology research and thesis research by training grant or journal club students. Same as MCB:6250.

MICR:6259 Graduate Bacteria and Human Disease3 s.h.

Infection and replication strategies of bacteria with an emphasis on human disease; discussion focuses on experimental approaches used to study mechanisms of disease.

MICR:6260 Graduate Molecular Microbiology3 s.h.

Microbes colonize a wide range of diverse environments from deep sea thermal vents to ice covered arctic lakes to the human body; students explore the genetics, molecular, and cell biology of a range of microorganisms including microbial cell organization, macromolecular assembly, molecular structure and function, cell division and DNA replication, fundamentals of gene regulation, bacterial differentiation, antibiotic resistance, and microbial interactions; the course provides a strong foundation in molecular microbiology with an emphasis on familiarizing students with the techniques commonly used in modern microbiology research.

MICR:6267 Graduate Viruses and Human Disease4 s.h.

Infection and replication strategies of viruses with an emphasis on human disease; discussion focuses on topics and techniques used in primary literature and development of specific aims for a mini-proposal.

MICR:6268 Biology and Pathogenesis of Viruses2 s.h.

Molecular biology of animal DNA and RNA viruses, viral immunology and pathogenesis, and interaction of these viruses with eucaryotic cells; mechanisms of viral latency, persistence, cellular transformation, oncogenesis; virology literature. Prerequisites: MICR:3168 or MICR:6267.

MICR:6270 Graduate Microbial Genetics3 s.h.

Genetics of bacteria, bacteriophages.

MICR:6279 Graduate Bacterial Diversity and the Human Microbiome3 s.h.

Discussion-based setting focused on the molecular basis of microbial diversity including mechanisms for gene expression, microbial populations, and the microbiome; emphasis on sequencing technologies, bioinformatics, and data bases; students will design, present, and evaluate primary research abstracts.

MICR:7207 Advanced Topics in Immunology3 s.h.

In-depth analysis of selected areas. Prerequisites: IMMU:6201 or MICR:6201. Same as IMMU:7221.

MICR:7217 Integrated Topics in Infectious Diseases1 s.h.

Clinical cases used to raise questions in host-microbe interactions; case/scientific exposés followed by related journal club discussions at next class session. Same as IMMU:7217.

MICR:7221 Advanced Topics in Prokaryotic Biology Module 11-2 s.h.

Development of critical thinking, experimental approach and design, writing, and oral presentation skills through primary literature and course specific assignments (proposal writing, writing manuscript reviews, oral presentations, small group discussions). Requirements: graduate standing in microbiology.

MICR:7222 Advanced Topics in Prokaryotic Biology Module 21-2 s.h.

Development of critical thinking, experimental approach and design, writing, and oral presentation skills through exposure to primary literature and assignments (proposal writing, writing manuscript reviews, oral presentations, small group discussions). Requirements: graduate standing in microbiology.

MICR:7223 Advanced Topics in Prokaryotic Biology Module 31-2 s.h.

Development of critical thinking, experimental approach and design, writing, and oral presentation skills through exposure to selected topics in microbiology and assignments (proposal, writing manuscript reviews, oral presentations, small group discussions). Requirements: graduate standing in microbiology.

MICR:7224 Advanced Topics in Prokaryotic Biology Module 41-2 s.h.

Development of critical thinking, experimental approach and design, writing, and oral presentation skills through exposure to selected topics in microbiology and assignments (proposal, writing manuscript reviews, oral presentations, small group discussions). Requirements: graduate standing in microbiology.

MICR:7225 Advanced Topics in Prokaryotic Biology Module 51-2 s.h.

Development of critical thinking, experimental approach and design, writing, and oral presentation skills through exposure to selected topics in microbiology and assignments (proposal, writing manuscript reviews, oral presentations, small group discussions). Requirements: graduate standing in microbiology.

MICR:7226 Advanced Topics in Prokaryotic Biology Module 61-2 s.h.

Development of critical thinking, experimental approach and design, writing, and oral presentation skills through exposure to selected topics in microbiology and assignments (proposal, writing manuscript reviews, oral presentations, small group discussions). Requirements: graduate standing in microbiology.

MICR:7261 Graduate Research in Microbiologyarr.

Requirements: microbiology graduate standing.

MICR:7263 Graduate Student Research Seminar1 s.h.

Presentation of thesis work in progress. Requirements: microbiology graduate standing.

MICR:7265 Topics in Virology Literature1 s.h.

Papers of current interest in primary virology literature.

MICR:7269 Graduate Topics in Viral Biology and Pathogenesis1 s.h.

Topics include viral life cycles, immune response, antiviral treatments, potential for vaccine, animal models; lectures introducing subject matter; discussion of literature relevant to each week's topic. Prerequisites: MICR:6267.

MICR:8230 Dental Microbiology3 s.h.

Medical microbiology: bacteriology, immunology, pathogenic bacteriology, virology, mycology, parasitology. Requirements: D.D.S. enrollment.