BIOSCI 736 : Microbial Genomics and Metabolism


2020 Semester Two (1205) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Cross-disciplinary issues involved in the understanding of microbial genome structure, gene regulation and metabolism. Includes: the genetic basis of microbial interactions and horizontal gene transfer, the effect of stress and mutation on microbial and viral evolution and modern approaches used to link gene sequence to biological function and phenotypes.

Course Overview

This course is based on scientific literature and the use of modern approaches to link gene/genome to biological function, evolution and phenotypes. This course is designed to cater for students with interest on Microbiology, Molecular Genetics and Genomics. It aims to stimulate critical thinking and individual learning by introducing students to contemporary thinking on selected topics in Microbiology.  A sound background in general microbiology and a good understanding of microbial metabolism, genome/gene structure and gene expression and regulation are expected. Students who complete this course successfully will be prepared to discuss, summarize, peer-evaluate and critically interpret scientific information related to the general and specific topics of study. 

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Develop skills on interpreting and presenting knowledge (verbally and written) from the scientific literature on microbial genetics, genomics and evolution (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5)
  2. Identify, explain and evaluate the use of molecular, genetics and genomics methodologies on the research (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5)
  3. Critically analyse research data, identify limitations and gaps of knowledge and propose solutions (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Assignments 60% Group & Individual Coursework
Final Exam 40% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3
Final Exam
 Students must achieve an overall passing mark in the course.

Key Topics

Topics comprise the knowledge domains of microbial genomics, molecular genetics and metabolism. Specific topics may vary across the following: physiology and metabolism of microorganisms applied to human diseases and industrial processes, the genetic basis of microbe-host interactions, molecular pathogenesis of microbial diseases, experimental evolution and metagenomics. 

Learning Resources

There is not a single textbook. Instead staff will bring recent literature and provide readings from experimental articles, reviews and textbooks where appropriate.

Special Requirements

Learning in this course is build up across lectures within a teaching module, session after session. Attendance and punctuality are required. 

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 24 hours of lectures (12 x 2 hours) including formal lecture time and group work; 60 hours of reading and thinking about the content and 60-90 hours of work on assignments and/or exam preparation.

Other Information

An online version of this course will be made available to approved students unable to travel to Auckland.

Digital Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website at

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page:

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter (


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course you may be asked to submit your coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. The final decision on the completion mode for a test or examination, and remote invigilation arrangements where applicable, will be advised to students at least 10 days prior to the scheduled date of the assessment, or in the case of an examination when the examination timetable is published.

Published on 04/08/2020 12:46 p.m.