Skip to main content

Microbiology & Cell Science

Microbiology & Cell Science


All Courses

  • BCH 5413 Mammalian Molecular Biology and Genetics

    This course is designed for graduate or advanced undergraduate students desiring a higher level survey course in molecular biology that is beyond an introductory course. Lectures and discussions will emphasize modern molecular, biochemical and genetic approaches to solving problems of current interest in molecular biology.

  • BSC 6459 Fundamentals in Bioinformatics

    Introduction to the basic bioinformatic tools used in computational biology for life science research. The course will use web-based resources that analyze gene and protein sequences as pertinent data examples.

  • GMS 5905 Fundamentals of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

    GMS 5905 is a graduate-level course that surveys the structure, function and metabolism of amino acids, proteins, carbohydrates, lipids and nucleic acids. It introduces concepts in cell structure, replication and growth and metabolic regulation.

    • Credits: 4
    • Semesters: Fall, Spring, Summer
    • Prerequisites: Organic Chemistry (CHM 2210 and 2211, CHM 2215 and 2216, or their equivalents at other universities) or consent of course coordinator. In certain cases, with permission, CHM 2211 or CHM 2216 may be taken concurrently.
    • View Full Course Details
  • GMS 6108: Bacterial Physiology, Antibiotics and Genetics

    Ideally, students will take GMS 6121 before they take GMS 6108, especially if they have a limited background in Microbiology. However, students who wish to take GMS 6108 BEFORE they complete GMS 6121 can watch four introductory bacteriology lectures in order to get caught up. Students can complete both courses regardless of the order in which they register.


  • GMS 6109 Advanced Bacteriology

    Advanced bacteriology in two modules. The first module covers bacterial genetics (e.g., gene expression and regulation, plasmids and bacteriophages, genetic engineering and genetic analysis) and physiology (e.g., DNA replication, protein production and localization, biofilms). The second module covers antibiotics (e.g., classes of antibiotics and their mechanisms of action) and antibiotic resistance (e.g., mechanisms).

  • GMS 6121 Infectious Diseases

    Basic biology and pathogenesis of viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites. Select representative organisms of each pathogen group and their diseases will be covered in detail. This course is coordinated with the Infectious Diseases section of GMS 7192 Journal Colloquy.

  • GMS 6132: Introductory Gene and Immunotherapy

    This course should be taken after GMS 6121.

    An overview of gene and immunotherapy with emphasis on translational applications, including fundamental understanding of the principles and mechanisms of gene and immunotherapy, specifically molecular biology of gene therapy and basic immunology and immunotherapy. Preclinical and clinical applications of both will be discussed.

  • GMS 7133 Advanced Molecular Virology

    This course follows GMS 6121 Infectious diseases and provides a more detailed molecular analysis of human pathogenic viruses. Replication mechanisms, molecular pathogenesis, host-pathogen interactions, immune evasion strategies, development of antivirals and vaccines and the relationship between viral evolution and emerging viruses are taught using representative viruses from different viral families.

  • GMS 7192 – Journal Colloquy (several topics available such as Infectious Disease, Bacteriology and COVID-19)

    Primary research papers correlated with the material being covered in GMS 6121 Infectious Diseases will be assigned for reading, analysis and discussion in a bulletin board-type format. This class may be repeated in the spring and the summer.


  • MCB 5205 Microbiology of Human Pathogens

    Survey of advanced topics and current scientific literature related to human host-pathogen interactions and microbial pathogenesis, focusing on emerging bacterial and viral pathogens as agents of human disease, biosecurity, molecular identification methods, spread of multi-drug resistance among bacterial pathogens, drug discovery and alternative treatment research.

  • MCB 5252 Microbiology, Immunology and Basis for Immuno-therapeutics

    This course studies the microbial structure and function with regards to their role in pathogenesis and infection, mechanism of microbial pathogenesis and selected diseases of the immune system. Topics discussed include: innate and acquired immunity, the role of cytokines, hypersensitivity, immunodeficiency, autoimmune diseases, vaccines and the role of immune-therapeutics. The relationship between structure and function and its role in rise of antibiotic-resistant strains will be discussed.

  • MCB 5270 Antimicrobial Resistance

    This course covers content related to antimicrobial resistance: the origins of antimicrobial resistance, dissemination, mechanisms, therapeutics and impact on healthcare, agriculture and the environment. This course mainly concentrates on resistance in bacteria but will also discuss other organisms, including viruses, parasites, fungi and cancer.

  • MCB 5505 Virology

    This course is for beginning graduate and honor students in Microbiology and related disciplines. The course teaches basic information on families of viruses from humans, plants, insects, animals and bacteria. Lectures cover the basic information of the medical, clinical, diagnostic, biotechnological and molecular aspects of these viruses.

  • MCB 5705 Astrobiology

    Astrobiology examines the origin, evolution and future of life in our solar system. Topics will include: planet and star formation, biosphere formation, evolutionary processes biogeochemistry, microbial adaptation to extreme environments, planetary habitability and microbiology on the International Space Station.

  • MCB 6095 Careers for Impact in Microbiology

    The course will prepare students with connections into a variety of Microbiology careers including industry, entrepreneurial ventures, government labs, NGOs, health professions and academia through guest speakers sharing about their career paths.

  • MCB 6096 Innovation Project Management

    Empowers students with practical tools to manage innovation projects typical of life science research & development. Challenges and methodologies associated with developing objectives, preparing project plans, establishing metrics, defining responsibilities, as well as mitigating risks and dealing with uncertainties will be discussed. Skills for strategic prioritization, time management, meeting facilitation and communication will be strengthened to promote an innovative culture.

  • MCB 6151 Prokaryotic Diversity

    This course is an introduction to the diversity of Bacteria and Archaea. Discussions will provide a conceptual and historical framework for understanding their 1) origin and evolution 2) morphological, metabolic and molecular characteristics 3) genetic and physiological diversity 4) importance in human/animal/plant health and 5) roles in elemental cycling.

  • MCB 6407 Prokaryotic Cell Structure and Function

    Analyzes the cell structure and physiology of bacteria and archaea. Extensive discussion of cell division, growth, stress responses, bioenergetics and metabolism is provided along with understanding the assembly and function of important cell structures (e.g. cell walls, membranes and appendages).

  • MCB 6424 Probiotics

    MCB 6424 Probiotics is an upper-division course on probiotics. This course will cover the use of microorganisms to promote a health status in the animal and human host. This course will provide a conceptual background in microbiology and immunology for the use of microorganisms for the prevention or treatment of animal and human diseases.

  • MCB 6458 Post Translational Modifications in Microbiology

    The overall goal of this class is to enhance student learning in the field of microbiology and to network students with professionals within the scientific community. To this end, the course will take an innovative approach to student learning through interactive group projects. The students will prepare projects that will undergo a scientific review by their class peers and faculty instructors.

  • MCB 6656 Environmental Microbiology

    Environmental Microbiology provides an overview of microorganisms in the environment, including occurrence, abundance and distribution. Current research methodologies to decipher microbial processes and activities, marine microbial ecology, microbial interactions with the environment and practices of applied environmental microbiology will also be examined.

  • MCB 6670C The Microbiome

    Increase knowledge, appreciation and use of genomics pertaining to the breadth of microbial diversity across a wide variety of organisms and habitats using methods that do not require culturing of the myriad of inhabitants. Students will use tools, practice analysis and interpretation of genomic data sets to analyze different microbiomes.

  • MCB 6796 Microbiological Data Analysis

    Focuses on the analysis and interpretation of microbiological data using R language and other command line tools with a series of examples that range in complexity. Students will analyze various types of microbiological data, including RNAseq, 16SrRNA gene sequencing, direct and indirect microbial growth measurements, and microbial bioproducts, among others. Finally, students will use good practices for data reproducibility.

  • MCB 6937 Advanced Molecular Genetics

    Molecular biology of bacterial gene expression, including DNA replication, mutation, genetic mapping using plasmids and phages, and recombinant DNA mechanisms.

  • BSC6895C: AI in Agriculture and Life Sciences

    Artificial intelligence (AI) is used to solve problems in research and industry. This course provides students with an understanding of AI systems and how they can be applied to answer challenging questions in life sciences. Through online study materials and hands-on exercises, students will obtain the skills and knowledge they need to use AI to solve real-world life sciences problems. 

  • MCB 6937 Biology of Microorganisms

    This course examines the structure, nutrition and growth of microorganisms; the characterization of representative microorganisms and viruses; and metabolic properties and provides an introduction to microbial genetics, immunology and the pathogenesis of microorganisms. Note that this course is intended only for students who did not complete an upper-division microbiology course as an undergraduate student.

  • MCB 6326 Computational Genomics and Epigenomics

    Genomics and epigenomics are emerging areas that utilize high-throughput sequencing technologies to allow rapid advances in our understanding of complicated biology questions. The primary goal of this course is to introduce students to the history, theory, latest advances and computational approaches of genomics and epigenomics to prepare them for conducting large scale genomic analyses in their independent research. Course topics include but are not limited to sequence mapping and alignments, genome assembly, annotation and comparative genomics, variant identification and analysis (e.g. SNP calling and GWAS), transcriptomics (e.g. single-cell RNA-seq), small RNAs and long noncoding RNAs, DNA methylation, histone modification, open chromatin region (e.g. ATAC-seq), 3D chromatin interaction, cancer genomics, proteomics and phenomics.

  • MCB 6937 Fundamentals in Molecular Genetics

    This course will discuss the synthesis and manipulation of DNA and the principles of gene expression at the molecular level in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes. The topics covered will include an introduction to the concepts of DNA replication, repair and packaging of the genome into chromosomes. In preparation for this course, you should understand basic college-level introductory biology and it is recommended to have at least one other more specialized biology course, such as Microbiology, Botany, Zoology, Genetics or Biochemistry.

  • MCB 6937 Methods to Study Prokaryotic Transcriptional Regulation

    This course will cover theoretical aspects as well as the methods available to identify and study prokaryotic proteins involved in transcriptional regulation. This course will explore specific methods used for the in silico and for the biochemical study of transcription factors. 

  • MCB 6937 Microbial Applications of Synthetic Biology

    This course will introduce the concept of synthetic biology, which is loosely defined as the construction and reconstruction of biological systems, and its practical applications in research and industry. Advanced molecular biology tools for DNA assembly, the construction of biological pathways and circuits, genome editing and strategies for transcriptional control will be examined in the course.

  • MCB 6937 Microbial Multicellularity

    This graduate course covers the genetics and physiology underlying microbial multicellular behavior, with an emphasis on bacterial examples relevant to human health and disease. 

  • MCB 6937 Regulatory Aspects of Microbiome-Based Therapies

    To be announced

  • MCB 6937 Synthetic Biology

    Synthetic biology applies basic genetic/metabolic principles to engineer biological cells to attain new functions. Synthetic biology research is a cutting-edge area that marries knowledge from biology, chemistry, physics and engineering principles. It is still in the infancy of development, yet synthetic biology has already brought breakthroughs in human medicine, industrial and pharmaceutical development, environmental protection and crop improvement. This course will introduce design principles and applications of biological cells. Topics include synthetic pathway design, artificial photosynthesis, repurposing genetic codons, genome synthesis and editing, and genetic circuit design among others. 

  • MCB 7922 – Final Literature Review

    Final Literature Review (must be taken in graduation semester)

  • MCB 7922 – Journal Colloquy (several topics available such as Environmental Microbiology, Astrobiology, Microbiome and Clinical Trials)

    The principal goals of this blog-based Journal Club are to: (a) enhance graduate students’ understanding of the current state of knowledge regarding host-microbe interactions; and (b) provide experience in reviewing and critiquing research articles. Each week a different student will lead the discussion by writing a blog that critically evaluates peer-reviewed science articles for subsequent group discussion threads that reinforces the principles of various research approaches and analytical methods. This course will also help students to develop their scientific inquiry and written skill sets.

  • PCB 5235 Immunology

    This is a comprehensive course in basic immunology designed for graduate students. Emphasis will be placed on fundamental aspects of immunology and its application to real-world immunological research and concerns. Upon successful completion of the course, students will have a solid immunological information foundation suitable for future educational endeavors in the areas of biomedical research or human/veterinary clinical applications. In addition, students will have a fundamental understanding of basic immunological experimental design. Student assessments in PCB 5235 will focus heavily on immunological facts, concepts and problem-solving based on the application of concepts. PCB 5235 will be co-taught with PCB 4233.

  • PCB 6667 Human Genomics

    Increasingly, researchers and healthcare providers are mining the genome to uncover the basis of disease susceptibility and treatment. Genome-based strategies are used for the detection, treatment and prevention of many diseases. This course will discuss the field of genomics, how genome sequence data is obtained and analyzed, and most importantly, what can be learned from an individual's genome.

  • SWS 5305C Soil Microbial Ecology

    This course explores soils as a habitat for microorganisms, the taxonomy and biology of soil microorganisms and the fundamentals of the microbial ecology of nutrient cycles, symbiotic associations and bioremediation.

  • SWS 6366 Biodegradation and Bioremediation of Organic Contaminants

    This course will present the basic principles of chemical and biological degradation of toxic chemicals and familiarize students with the application of remedial technologies in natural environments. Topics covered will include occurrence and ecological significance of toxic organic chemicals, chemistry of contaminants, kinetics and mechanisms of degradation (chemical and biological) and current technologies of bioremediation of contaminated soils and water.

  • MCB 6937 Python Programming for Biologists

    Discoveries in biology are driven as much by computer analysis as by laboratory work. MCB6937, Python Programming for Biologists, provides training in the theory and practice of computer programming with an emphasis on the practical techniques and problem solving skills required to use programming in biological research.

Department Module Courses

These additional modules, which cover a more advanced curriculum and last 4-8 weeks, can be completed for elective credit.

Fall Modules

  • MCB 6317 Molecular Biology of Gene Expression

    This course covers synthesis, processing, transport and translation of RNA in micro-organisms and eukaryotes. Epigenetic regulation of gene expression will be the main topic; however, a review of the general mechanisms of eukaryotic gene activation and repression will also be covered.

  • MCB 6417 Microbial Metabolism and Energetics

    Principles of energy and biosynthetic metabolism will be examined in aerobic and anaerobic micro-organisms. Current biotechnology which incorporates these principles will also be discussed.

Spring Modules

  • MCB 6318 Comparative Microbial Genetics

    Methods to allow experimental scientists lacking computer programming skills to efficiently use the genomic and post-genomic data that is freely available over the web to predict protein function. Examples will be mainly taken from the field of microbial metabolism and regulation. 

  • MCB 6355 Microbial/Host Defense

    Principles of host defense to microbial invasion in a context of cellular biology involving both plants and animals.

  • MCB 6772 Advanced Topics in Cell Biology

    Specific topics about cell structure and function published in recent journal articles with microbiological interest animal and plant systems will be studied. The specific topic for this semester will be cell-surface receptors. We will discuss how cell surface receptors were discovered and how they are involved in transferring extracellular signals. The role of cell surface receptors in host-microbe interactions will be the focus of this semester.

  • MCB 6937 Methods to Study Prokaryotic Transcriptional Regulation

    This course will cover theoretical aspects as well as the methods available to identify and study prokaryotic proteins involved in transcriptional regulation. This course will explore specific methods used for the in silico and for the biochemical study of transcription factors. 


Master of Science in Microbiology and Cell Science with a concentration in Medical Microbiology and Biochemistry

Students must take at least 3 credits in the final fall/spring semester (or 2 credits in the final summer semester) to graduate.

Graduate Certificate in Medical Microbiology

Students must take at least 3 credits in the final fall/spring semester to graduate.

Graduate Certificate in Environmental Microbiology

Students must take at least 3 credits in the final fall/spring semester to graduate.

Graduate Certificate in Microbiome and Health 

Students must take at least 3 credits in the final fall/spring semester to graduate.


For more information, please contact