Bio 406 - Medical Microbiology
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Spring 2023 Course Syllabus

MWF 1:00 - 1:50 PM (Hudson 209)    



Office Hours


Course Description (see Course Catalog)

Course Websites

The course web site ( and the course Moodle site are formal and official means of communication for Biology 406 (Medical Microbiology). Detailed instructions for assignments, course syllabus, calendars, lecture outlines and bonus points can be accessed via the web site.

Course Objectives

Students should understand and be able to articulate fundamental principles of host-microbe interactions:

  1. Describe the normal relationship between humans and microorganisms
  2. Comprehend the mechanisms by which disease can arise
  3. Discuss the infectious disease cycle and the capabilities of a pathogen
  4. Explain the innate and adaptive immune mechanisms of the human body
  5. Demonstrate insight into the epidemiology of infectious diseases
  6. Understand the principles of antimicrobial treatment and antimicrobial resistance

Students will be able to describe the key characteristics of infectious diseases

  1. Differentiate all major bacterial, viral, fungal and parasitic infections
  2. Identify diseases and their causative agents based on case studies and key points

Students will demonstrate awareness and comprehension of current issues in the field

  1. Articulate the impact of antimicrobial resistance, emerging infectious diseases, and bioterrorism
  2. To effectively communicate scientific findings and information in form of a term paper.
Attendance policy

Attendance during lecture periods is required. Lectures will cover the topics outlined in the course calendar (see below), and may contain material not covered by the textbook. Students are responsible for all material covered in lecture, as well as any announcements made during the lecture period. Quizzes that are missed cannot be made up.


Reading Assignments

Chapters and/or page numbers assigned for each lecture period are indicated on the course calendar. Readings should be completed before the corresponding class period. The reading assignments are intended to illustrate, support, supplement, and expand on the lectures. All exam questions will come from material covered in the lectures. As such, the text will provide invaluable aids to studying and serve as a reference for the many terms and concepts we will cover. Please take the reading assignments seriously.


Additional Reading Assignment

    The faculty of the Department of Biological Sciences hold that literacy skills, including reading and writing, are integral to our students’ education. Therefore, each course in this Department will include a required supplemental reading assignment. The supplemental reading assignments for this course are posted on the course website. Completion of the assigned readings will be assessed via student participation in the on-line bonus questions.


Grading policy

Your course grade will be based on the following (500 points total):

Exams are non-comprehensive and will cover material as indicated on the calendar.  


Make-up exams are available only if: 1) you notify me prior to the scheduled exam time, and schedule a make-up exam at that time, or 2) you miss an exam for a valid reason, such as a medical emergency. In all other cases, a make-up exam will automatically incur a 10 point penalty. Make-up exams must be taken within one week of the originally scheduled exam, and will differ in format (usually short-answer) from the original exam.


Term Paper: 10 - 20 pages, based on your research about a topic in Medical Microbiology.   Term papers are intended to go beyond the scope of the textbook, include research into the current scientific literature, and promote your written and oral communication skills. Please read and acknowledge the course Plagiarism Policy before writing your term paper. Due May 5, 2022.  Detailed Term Paper Instructions


Quizzes.  Quizzes are posted every week online or given in class and cover material from the week's lecture material. Each quiz is worth 5 points. Your best 10 quizzes will count toward your course grade. Missed quizzes cannot be made up.


Extra Credit Policy: You can earn up to 15 bonus points for the semester by completing the weekly Survivor quiz. On-line assignments are posted weekly on Moodle and cannot be made up.  


Grading scale:

 A 93% – 100%  B- 80% - 82%  D+ 67% – 69%
 A- 90% – 92%  C+ 77% – 79%  D 60% – 66%
 B+ 87% – 89%  C 73% – 76%  E < 60%
 B 83% – 86%  C- 70% – 72%    


Honor Code

 It is expected that all students enrolled in this class support the letter and the spirit of the Academic Honesty Policy as stated in the college catalog.

You will be asked to read and acknowledge the course plagiarism policy found on the course Moodle site

How will Plagiarism/Academic dishonesty be dealt with?

Depending on the perceived severity of the offense (Intentional or inadvertent? How much of the course grade was affected? How much of an assignment was plagiarized? Was this a repeat offense?) the instructor may:

  1. Mark down the assignment by one letter grade
  2. Give a grade of "0" for the assignment
  3. Give a grade of "E" for the course
  4. Refer the student to the campus judicial committee for academic dishonesty. This will result in a hearing before the judicial committee and may result in expulsion from the University. 


Writing Standards for Department of Biological Sciences

 It is the position of the Department of Biological Sciences at Plattsburgh State that all students must learn to write in a clear and intelligent manner.  We recognize that this goal cannot be achieved by depending only on the efforts of others to foster good writing. We further believe that the general quality of student writing will not improve unless we as a department are willing to state explicitly the standards we expect students to meet and to enforce those standards.  Therefore, in courses taught by the Department of Biological Sciences, in addition to grading the content of written assignments, all faculty will also grade assignments for writing.


Assessment of Student Learning:  Analytical skill development and understanding of fundamental biological principles

     The faculty of the Department of Biological Sciences is committed to providing students with a first-rate educational experience as articulated in the Departmental Mission Statement:

             “The Department of Biological Sciences strives to provide students with the fundamental understanding of the principles and methods of the life sciences within the context of a sound liberal arts education.  Emphasis is on the development of the student’s ability to analyze problems, apply scientific method, communicate biological information, and interpret current advances in research.”

 Student progress toward attaining the goals set forth in the Departmental Mission Statement will be assessed in part by an exam or quiz question that has been selected for this purpose by the faculty of the Department of Biological Sciences.



Course help will be available to you in various ways. Please feel free to come to my office during office hours to discuss course-related questions or problems. If you cannot make it in during regular office hours, please schedule an alternate time with me. Many questions can also be addressed via email, and I encourage you to use this approach. I will attempt to answer each message I receive within a day.

Furthermore, I strongly encourage that you make use of this website and the links it provides to other informative sites.  These links include images of and information about the microorganisms which we are studying, announcements, on-line assignments (bonus points), and instructions for assignments.

Student Accommodations

If you are a student that requires academic or other accommodations, please contact the Student Accessibility Services (SAS) office— 011 Macomb Hall, call 518-564-3844 or email You must certify with this office before using accommodations.