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Graduate Certificate

  • The mounting global effects of climate change have made the role of microbes in our everyday lives increasingly visible, and the demand for professionals who understand the underlying science behind earth’s complex microbiomes has risen accordingly. UF’s online Graduate Certificate in Environmental Microbiology is the only certificate program in the world that explores how microbes can be harnessed to provide solutions to practical issues on a global scale. These real-world applications include climate change, rising sea levels, bioremediation, interactions between people and their workplace environments, solar radiation risks to human health and improving the space industry.

    Students earning this graduate certificate will study concepts in microbial ecology, biogeochemistry, and advances in microbiome research while developing competency in current environmental microbiology technologies and evaluation strategies.

    Student learning outcomes:

    1. Develop an in-depth comprehension and mastery of the fundamental concepts and methodology of environmental microbiology.
    2. Analyze and discuss primary literature in the field of environmental microbiology to improve critical thinking and evaluation skills.
    3. Refine scientific communication skills through writing scientific critiques, blogs and abstracts of primary literature articles.
    4. Improve professional development through an increased awareness of library resources, professional societies, journals and meetings.

    The following required courses can be taken at any point during your graduate certificate program.

    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.

    Credits: 3
    Semesters: Fall

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    MCB 7922 - Journal Colloquy – Environmental Microbiology (fall); Astrobiology (spring)

    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.

    Credits: 1
    Semesters: Fall, Spring

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    To earn the Graduate Certificate in Environmental Microbiology, you must also successfully complete three of the following courses, totaling 9 credits:

    MCB 6781 Archaea and Biotechnology

    Students will learn about the evolution, physiology, and molecular biology of Archaea including extremophiles. Principles of energy production and biosynthesis will be examined in aerobic and anaerobic habitats. Research that incorporates cutting-edge techniques and biotechnology applications for using archaea to solve real world problems will also be explored.

    Credits: 3
    Semester: Fall

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    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.

    Credits: 3
    Semester: Spring

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    MCB 6937 Bacterial Physiology

    This course explores the structure and physiology of bacterial cells. The principles of energy and biosynthetic metabolism will be examined in aerobic and anaerobic micro-organisms. Several current research topics in microbiology will also be covered including quorum sensing, proteases, chaperones, and microbes in extreme environments. Topics in microbial biotechnology will be discussed, such as improvements in the production of renewable fuels and chemicals and bioremediation.

    Credits: 3
    Semester: Fall

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    MCB 4320C/ 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.

    Credits: 3
    Semester: Spring

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    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.

    Credits: 3
    Semester: Summer C

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    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.

    Credits: 3
    Semester: Fall

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    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.

    Credits: 3
    Semester: Spring

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    An alternative, relevant course may be substituted for one of the certificate courses with the permission of an advisor or program coordinator.

    The following elective does not count toward the credit requirements of the certificate program but is recommended for students lacking prior upper-division coursework in microbiology.

    MCB 6937 Special Topics – 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.

    Credits: 3
    Office Hours Mondays and Wednesdays 9:30-12:00

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    Suggested Course Plan

    Fall Semester (6 or 7 credits)
    MCB 6656 Environmental Microbiology (3 credits)
    MCB 7922 Journal Colloquium in Environmental Microbiology (1 credit)
    MCB 6781 Archaea and Biotechnology (3 credits)
    or
    MCB 6937 Bacterial Physiology (3 credits)
    or
    SWS 5305C Soil Microbial Ecology (3 credits)

    Spring Semester (6 or 7 credits)
    MCB 7922 Journal Colloquium in Environmental Microbiology (1 credit)
    MCB 5705 Astrobiology (3 credits)
    or
    MCB 6670C The Microbiome (3 credits)
    or
    SWS 6366 Biodegradation and Bioremediation of Organic Contaminants (3 credits)

    Summer (3 credits [optional])
    MCB 6151 Prokaryotic Diversity (3 credits)

    At a Glance