BIO-135: Microbiology for the Allied Health Sciences

Science, Technology, Engineering & Math
Academic Level
Course Subject
Course Number
Course Title
Microbiology for the Allied Health Sciences
Credit Hours
Instructor Contact Hours Per Semester
77.00 (for 15-week classes)
Student Contact Hours Per Semester
77.00 (for 15-week classes)
Grading Method
ENG-131 eligible
Catalog Course Description

For health service personnel not needing the extensive laboratory experience and breadth of material of BIO 251. Emphasizes the biology of medically important microbes, epidemiology and disease transmission, sterile technique, basics of immunity, the microbiology of wounds, and current regulations regarding blood-borne pathogens and bio-hazardous wastes. Three hours of lecture and two hours of lab per week.

Goals, Topics, and Objectives

Goal Statement

Students will gain an appreciation of the many roles of microbes in human life and will master the material at a level to allow them to pass the microbiology section of a licensure exam for an allied health field.

The course topics and objectives are based on the Microbiology in Nursing and Allied Health (MINAH) Undergraduate Curriculum Guidelines established by the American Society for Microbiology. These recommendations and details regarding approved laboratory objectives are available from The American Society for Microbiology.

Core Course Topics
  1. Theme 1: Microbial diversity
    • Categories of medically important microbes
  2. Theme 2: Microbial cell biology
    • Information flow within a cell
    • Regulation of cellular activities
    • Cellular structure and function
    • Growth and division
    • Cell energy metabolism
  3. Theme 3: Microbial genetics
    • Inheritance of genetic information
    • Causes and consequences of mutations
    • Exchange and acquisition of genetic information
  4. Theme 4: Interactions and impact of microbes and humans
    • Microbiome in health and disease
    • Microbial pathogenicity
    • Host defense mechanisms
    • Identifying and managing infectious diseases
    • Disease transmission
    • Antimicrobial drugs and chemotherapy
    • Vaccines
    • Epidemiology and public health
    • Healthcare associated infections
  5. Theme 5: Interactions and impact of microbes in the environment
    • Ubiquity of microbes
    • Adaptation and natural selection
    • Symbiosis
    • Controlling microbial growth in the environment
    • Biofilms
  6. Theme 6: Integrating Themes
    • Microbial evolution
    • Scientific process and critical thinking
Core Course Learning Objectives (Separated)

A student successfully completing this course will be able to:

  1. Describe the morphology, physiology, characteristics, and classification of diverse types of medically important microbes.

  2. Explain how genetic information is inherited, exchanged, and acquired by microbes, and how modification of genetic information occurs.

  3. Describe how various environmental factors affect the growth of microbes.

  4. Discuss ways in which microbes interact with other organisms and with their environment.

  5. Discuss the complex interactions between humans and microbes and explain how these interactions impact human health.

  6. Identify mechanisms of microbial pathogenicity.

  7. List and describe common infectious diseases and discuss how they are diagnosed and treated.

  8. Describe methods used to identify infectious agents.

  9. Identify mechanisms by which human diseases can be transmitted and how transmission can be prevented.

  10. Explain how the immune system responds to challenge by microbes, and how vaccinations are safe and effective in preventing the spread of disease.

  11. Describe the impact of healthcare associated infections.

  12. Explain how epidemiological principles are used to track and reduce the incidence of infectious disease.

  13. Describe ways to control microbes in the environment, specifically in the processing of medical equipment.

  14. Explain how antimicrobial substances are used to combat infectious agents.

  15. Explain how antimicrobial resistance arises and describe activities that can limit the threat of antimicrobial resistance.

  16. Use the technical vocabulary of microbiology to read and interpret case studies about microbiology.

  17. Use knowledge of the concepts of asepsis and sterility to safely work with live organisms and render work areas safe.

  18. Apply rules for preventing the spread of bloodborne and other pathogens.

  19. Demonstrate a basic proficiency in laboratory skills.

  20. Solve a practical problem in microbiology using the scientific method and communicate the results in a standard style used by microbiologists.

  21. Explain and practice safe microbiological procedures.

  22. Demonstrate scientific reasoning, analysis, and communication skills.

Detailed Learning Objectives (Optional)

Theory Skills

A student successfully completing this course will be able to:

  1. Compare the structures of the various classes of microbes, including gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria, fungi, protozoans, viruses, and prions.

  2. Identify the morphology of bacteria, fungi, and viruses from a sample or picture.

  3. Compare the metabolic processes of various kinds of microbes.

  4. Explain how varying environmental factors (temperature, pH, osmotic pressure, etc.) can affect microbial growth, and give examples of how these factors can be used to inhibit or encourage microbial growth.

  5. Describe the various methods of microbial control and explain how they can be appropriately used to sterilize, disinfect, pasteurize, or otherwise reduce the microbial population in the laboratory or health care setting.

  6. Explain the roles of nucleic acids and proteins in cell reproduction and metabolism.

  7. Identify examples of transduction, transformation, and conjugation.

  8. Define and identify various symbiotic relationships among microbes and their hosts.

  9. Explain the roles of barriers, nonspecific immunity, and specific immunity in preventing infections.

  10. Explain the process by which vaccination gives rise to resistance to diseases.

  11. Give examples of mechanisms of disease transmission, describing the roles of fomites, carriers, vectors, and vehicles where appropriate, and explain how knowledge of these mechanisms can be used to protect patients and health care workers from infection.

  12. Discuss the etiology and control of common diseases, particularly bloodborne pathogens and those that cause wound infections.

  13. List commonly used antimicrobial drugs, their modes of action, and examples of their uses.

  14. Explain how populations of microbes adapt to their environment.

  15. Explain the genetic basis of antimicrobial drug resistance and how overuse of antimicrobial drugs can lead to the rise of drug resistant microbes; describe activities that can limit the threat of antimicrobial resistance.

Laboratory Skills

A. Laboratory Techniques

A student successfully completing this course will be able to:

  1. Use a bright field light microscope to view and interpret slides.

  2. Properly prepare slides for microbiological examination.

  3. Properly use aseptic techniques for the transfer and handling of microbes and instruments.

  4. Use appropriate microbiological media and test systems.

  5. Use standard microbiology laboratory equipment correctly.

  6. Follow an experimental protocol.

  7. Accurately record observations made in the laboratory using proper terminology.

B. Laboratory Thinking Skills

A student successfully completing basic microbiology will demonstrate skills in:

  1. Scientific reasoning, including
    • formulating a clear, answerable question
    • developing a testable hypothesis
    • predicting expected results
  1. Analysis skills, including
    • collecting and organizing data in a systematic fashion
    • presenting data in an appropriate form (graphs, tables, figures, or descriptive paragraphs)
    • assessing the validity of the data (including integrity and significance)
    • drawing appropriate conclusions based on the results
  1. Communication skills, including:
    • discussing and presenting results or findings in the laboratory
  1. Interpersonal and citizenry skills, including
    • working effectively in teams or groups so that tasks, results, and analyses are shared
    • effectively managing time and tasks allowing concurrent and/or overlapping tasks to be done simultaneously by individuals and within a group
    • integrating knowledge and making informed judgments about microbiology in everyday life.

Laboratory Safety

A student successfully completing basic microbiology will be able to explain and practice safe microbiological procedures, including:

  1. Reporting all spills and broken glassware to the instructor and receiving instructions for clean up

  2. Methods for aseptic transfer

  3. Minimizing or containing the production of aerosols and describing the hazards associated with aerosols

  4. Washing hands prior to and following laboratories and at any time contamination is suspected

  5. Using universal precautions with blood and other body fluids and following the requirements of the OSHA Bloodborne Pathogen Standard

  6. Disinfecting lab benches and equipment prior to and at the conclusion of each lab session, using an appropriate disinfectant and allowing a suitable contact time

  7. Identifying and disposing of different types of waste

  8. Reading and signing a laboratory safety agreement indicating that the student has read and understands the safety rules of the laboratory

  9. Good lab practice, including returning materials to proper locations, proper care and handling of equipment, and keeping the bench top clear of extraneous materials

  10. Protective procedures, including:

    • Tying long hair back and wearing personal protective equipment as appropriate (eye protection, lab coats, gloves, closed shoes)
    • Always using appropriate pipetting devices and understanding that mouth pipetting is forbidden
    • Never eating or drinking in the laboratory
    • Never applying cosmetics, handling contact lenses, or placing objects (fingers, pencils, etc.) in the mouth or touching the face
  1. Emergency procedures, including:
    • Locating and using emergency equipment (eye wash stations, first aid kits, fire extinguishers, chemical safety showers, telephones, and emergency numbers)
    • Reporting all injuries immediately to the instructor
    • Following proper steps in the event of an emergency

Assessment and Requirements

Assessment of Academic Achievement

Details of the assessment of student achievement are left to the discretion of the individual instructor. However, a substantial part of the assessment (not to exceed 50%) should be based on evaluation of Laboratory Skills. The assessment of Theory and Laboratory Skills should be based on a variety of measures, including, where feasible, testing, written papers, oral presentations, and practical applications of knowledge or skills.

Where appropriate, instructors are encouraged to use both written and oral assessments, and to use these in both formal and informal settings.

General Course Requirements and Recommendations

Students should complete several writing assignments during the course of the semester. These assignments may be tied to the lecture, the lab, or both, and require some synthesis on the part of the student.

Students should also complete at least one major laboratory project that requires experimental design, application of laboratory techniques and analysis of data (e.g., identification of an unknown organism).

Students should participate in exercises that require them to express their understanding of microbiological concepts in both written and oral formats.


Texts will be chosen from among generally recognized microbiology texts.


General Education Categories
  • Natural Sciences
Institutional Outcomes
  • Scientific Reasoning
MTA Categories
  • Category 6.1: Natural Sciences
  • Category 6.2: Natural Sciences with Laboratory Experience

Approval Dates

Effective Term
Fall 2020
ILT Approval Date
AALC Approval Date
Curriculum Committee Approval Date