Introduction to Microbiology
discovery of microbes (technology)
“germ theory of disease”
A young science! But applied microbiology
is almost as old as agriculture
Microbiology and public health
hospital environments (nosocomial)
how diseases spread
how to control disease
What do we learn from them?
Infectious diseases may be transmitted from
one animal species to another
Migration patterns may affect spread of disease
Technologies may provide some risk for disease
toxic shock syndrome
“mad cow disease”
“Golden Age of Microbiology” (19
Understanding the unique characteristics of
prokaryotes and eukaryotes
unusual metabolic properties
How to study them
Their role in infectious disease
and in the
Pure culture techniques
discovery of causative agents of disease
Control of infection with aseptic technique
Discovery of viruses
Beginning to understand the immune system
Genetic exchange between bacteria
Identification of DNA as heritable material
Vaccines (it began with smallpox)
how do they work?
how to design safe, effective vaccines
Eradication of smallpox; polio?
What is the
and what does this
have to do with health and disease?
Microbes and the environment
Unique metabolic processes
Carbon, nitrogen, sulfur cycle through the
ecosystem (so what?)
All living things need them
Microbes (especially bacteria) are required for
cycling to occur
Microbes (especially bacteria) as model
Easy to grow (well, some of them are)
Don’t take up much room
“Easy” to manipulate
Many processes can be extrapolated to
Scope of the course
What are microbes?
How do we distinguish one from another?
Where in the environment are they found?
How do they grow there?
How do we measure/detect growth?
How do they cause disease?
What is pathogenicity?
How do we resist disease?
Classification of microbes
Scope of the course, continued
How do we control microbial growth?
To prevent disease
To cure disease
In the environment
What is epidemiology?
We can’t survive without microbes! Why?