MEDSCI 707 : Antimicrobials and Resistance

Medical and Health Sciences

2021 Semester One (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Antimicrobial resistance is a public health concern developing worldwide. The nature of antimicrobial agents will be explored by examining their discovery, development and mechanisms of action. Antimicrobial resistance will be studied to understand both mechanisms of resistance and the factors that drive resistance. Emphasis will be placed on recent advances in the discovery of antimicrobials and the development of novel strategies for the control of infectious agents.

Course Overview

The course will be organised around two main themes and the following questions:
What is antimicrobial resistance and why is it a problem?
What are antimicrobials: How do they work and what do we use them for?
Pathogens and Resistance: What is resistance and which are the key pathogens?
What are the drivers of resistance?

What are the solutions?
How can we deal with resistance today?
Biodiscovery: how can we broaden the options for tomorrow?
New applications and new strategies: what else can we do to kill pathogens and combat resistance?

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Course Contacts

Simon Swift Course Director
Siouxsie Wiles Course Director

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
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. List and describe the antimicrobials in use today, identifying modes of action and how we use them. (Capability 1)
  2. Explain antibiotic resistance and why it is important (Capability 1, 2, 4 and 6)
  3. Describe and critically evaluate the pathogens threatening health to the greatest degree through antibiotic resistance. (Capability 1, 2, 4 and 6)
  4. Explain the drivers of the development of antimicrobial resistance (Capability 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6)
  5. Identify, explain and evaluate ways in which we might deal with antimicrobial resistance today (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6)
  6. Identify, explain and evaluate the routes to new antibiotics (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6)
  7. Identify, explain and evaluate new approaches to killing pathogens and dealing with resistance. (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 4)
  8. Evaluate research publications effectively and critically (Capability 2, 4 and 5)
  9. Communicate effectively with people ranging from the general public to experts in the field, using a range of media and approaches (Capability 4, 5 and 6)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Infographic 15% Individual Coursework
Fact sheet 30% Individual Coursework
Essay 25% Individual Coursework
Report 15% Individual Coursework
Presentation 15% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Fact sheet

An Infographic is a collection of images, charts, and minimal text that gives an easy-to-understand overview of a topic on one page.

A fact sheet comprises one page of text that answers the question set, illustrated with one page of figures with legends. References are listed on a separate page. 

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, each week you can expect a 2 hour tutorial (which includes about 30 minutes of discussion with people from various professions who might use the knowledge gained in this course), 5 hours of reading and thinking about the content and 3 hours of work on assignments and/or test preparation.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is expected at scheduled activities including tutorials to complete components of the course.
There are no formal lectures in the course. Other learning activities including seminars/tutorials will be available as recordings if room settings allow although this is difficult for breakout group discussions. Recordings will only be released for all group activities, and will be normally be made available the day after the class.
The course will not include live online events including group discussions/tutorials.
Attendance on campus is required for the in class report assessment.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.

All teaching sessions will be given by Simon Swift and Siouxsie Wiles.

Student Feedback

At the end of every semester 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 and respond with summaries and actions.

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

Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the department and faculty staff-student consultative committees.

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.

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

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.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and your assessment is fair, and not compromised. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the University Website for information about how to proceed.

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.