What is metabolism and how do microbes differ in their ability to convert energy into usable forms?

Microbiology is one of the fundamental areas of knowledge for the health professions. We must know how to identify microorganisms in our environment and how to prevent and control the numerous pathogens that infect virtually everyone on our planet at one time or another. Once we understand the etiology of an infectious disease we are able to not only cure infected persons from the various pathogens found in our environment, but prevent others from becoming infected.
We will begin this course with a review of the history of microbiology and an introduction to cell theory. You will learn how the work of scientists Robert Hooke, Robert Koch, Louis Pasteur, and several others, led to the controversy over spontaneous generation and the understanding of the role of microorganisms in the causation of disease. The work of these pioneers in the field ultimately contributed to the development of cell theory and medical microbiology.
Once you understand the history of microbiology and cell theory, we will learn to identify different kinds of microorganisms and classify them based on certain characteristics. We will consider the concepts of how we classify “species” and how species evolve, as we learn about the classification of microbes into groups such as bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and viruses.
We will then build on this general understanding of microbial biology to examine how our bodies defend against infection and disease, and explore modern concepts of disease control and prevention. In this section we will focus on some current issues surrounding antibiotic resistance (MRSA, VRSA) and STD epidemics facing the human population, such as HIV and HPV, and current attempts to control them. In order to understand why these microbes pose such a risk to our population, we will learn the basics of the human immune response, immunity, and how vaccinations and antibiotics play a role in disease control and prevention.
As we investigate these basic theories of microbiology, we will consider how the human microbiome plays a role in health and disease, and consider the microbiome found in our soil and water. We will address questions such as:
• What are the resident microbiota? What is the difference between a nonpathogenic compared to a pathogenic microbe? What conditions can cause a nonpathogenic microbe to become pathogenic?
• What is metabolism and how do microbes differ in their ability to convert energy into usable forms?
• How does microbial metabolism contribute to biogeochemical cycles?
You will begin each module by completely reading the Home page. The Case Assignment will build on the material contained in the Home page and you will accomplish readings and quizzes in the Boundless Textbook for Microbiology for your SLP assignments. Many additional resources are available to you on your ebrary bookshelf for Microbiology. You may use these to help you accomplish any research for your Case Assignments. Please use the CDC and WHO websites as well as university sites, as these are considered academic sources.
Remember, as you complete your assignments, it is important to clearly document all work submitted in the course. Work should include a title page documenting student’s name, type of assignment (Case or SLP), instructor’s name and the date. All research should be synthesized and presented as ORIGINAL WORK (use your own words!). Adhering to these practices will insure that proper credit is given for each submission. Once again, welcome to Microbiology.

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