Course Synopsis:  Microbial Physiology (SEBS)
11:680:481 (3 credits)

Contact Information: Dr. Jeff Boyd (Rm. 127, Lipman Hall, phone 848-932-5604 email:

Offered: This is a lecture course which is offered each Spring semester.

Prerequisites and Registration Restrictions:
Biochemistry course: (11:115:403, 11:115:301, 01:694:301, or 01:694:407)
General Microbiology 11:680:390.
For Pre-requisite overrides or Special Permission contact the Instructor.

Format:  Two 1 hour 20 min per week.

Description: Microbial Physiology is an intensive course with the goal of integrating biochemistry and genetics to enhance the understanding of the microbial cell and the robust and diverse nature of life.  This course is intended to be a capstone class for the microbiology major.  It will provide the instructors with the opportunity to re-address the learning goals of the microbiology major and address general scientific misconceptions before student graduation.  This course is targeted to “advanced” juniors or seniors majoring in microbiology, biochemistry, biotechnology, and related fields, as well as graduate students. 

Topics covered:  Microbial physiology is a broad subject area and this course will attempt to provide a balance between the breadth of subjects addressed and the depth at which the subjects are discussed.  The course has three overarching topics:  1. central metabolism and energy conservation, 2. macromolecular biogenesis and function and, 3. integration of metabolic events.  The introductory lectures will address metabolic functions that are common to most organisms.  The lectures will then progress to address metabolic functions that are the “exception to rule” to highlight the diversity of the microbial world.  Students will learn about current events in the subject of microbial physiology and modern techniques used to examine metabolism. They will also learn about how the metabolic potential of micro-organisms has been harnessed to address problems facing society.  .

Course Book:  The Physiology and Biochemistry and Prokaryotes fourth addition by David White.  Lecture notes and readings will be posted on Sakai prior to individual classes.

Learning Goals: Students are expected to gain a fundamental understanding of how metabolic systems are integrated resulting in the robust nature of life.  Students will leave the class with an understanding of carbon and electron flow.  They will also understand how organisms sense and adapt to changes within the environment.

Examinations: Class grade is based on three examinations (65%), three problem sets (25%), and in-class participation (10%). The examinations have a short and extended answer format with some calculations.   The problem sets are of the same format and are intended to prepare students for the examinations.

Syllabus:  A detailed syllabus will be available at the first class meeting and posted on the course Sakai page.