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11:680:390: General Microbiology

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Course Overview

General Microbiology
Fall, Spring Summer
Meeting times TBD
Meeting Location Lecture: Sychronous Lecture Hall Cook/Douglas and Wright Labs Busch
Meeting Location Lab: Food Science 209

Contact Information

Instructor: Dr. Ines Rauschenbach
Lipman Hall, Room 215
Office Hours: By appointment

Course Website, Resources, and Materials

  • Canvas
  • Text: Madigan MT, Bender KS, Buckley DH, Sattley WM, Stahl DA. 2020. Brock Biology of Microorganisms. 16th edition. Pearson, New York, NY.
  • Lab Manual
    • The lab manual (departmental publication) will be available for free through RUCore.
  • Electronic Notebook
    • We will be sending you a link to LabArchives. You must sign up before the start of your first lab.

Course Description

This course offers a comprehensive study of the field of microbiology to science majors. The course will give detailed insights into five major themes: Structure and function of microbes (cellular structures, metabolism, and growth);,microbial genetics, microbial ecology, microbial diversity (prokaryotes, eukaryotes, viruses) and clinical microbiology (immunity, pathogenicity, epidemiology, control of microbes, and diseases). The course is taught in the synchronous lecture halls on Cook/Douglass and Busch campuses. Students are expected to participate in active learning activities and participate in class discussion to deepen their understanding of the microbial world and apply their knowledge to various concepts.

Learning Goals

Learning Goals for General Microbiology Lecture

The course aims to inform students on why and how the microbiome is a new field of study, why is it important and how it is being degraded by an urban lifestyle. The course will familiarize students with the field, and enable them to understand science news about advances that reach mass media, as well as the abstract of scientific papers.

After completion of the lecture component of the course, successful students will:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the structural similarities and differences among microbes and the unique structure/function relationships of prokaryotic cells.
  2. Comprehend the fundamentals of molecular microbiology.
  3. Appreciate the diversity of microorganisms and microbial communities and recognize how microorganisms solve the fundamental problems their environments present.
  4. Recognize how the underlying principles of epidemiology of disease and pathogenicity of specific microbes affect human health.

Learning Goals for General Microbiology Laboratory

After completion of this laboratory, students should be able to:

  1. Learn the proper use of a phase contrast microscope to observe microorganisms and report observed characteristics.
  2. Practice and apply calculations related to the preparation of media, stock/working solutions, and culture dilutions
  3. Apply their knowledge of microbial structure, growth, and metabolism to the identification of an unknown microorganism.
  4. Summarize and apply concepts of molecular biology.
  5. Demonstrate aseptic technique and perform routine culture handling tasks safely and effectively.
  6. Apply scientific method to collect, interpret, and present scientific data in microbiology and related fields.

Assignments/Responsibilities, Grading, and Assessment

Course Grading

Grades will be based on lecture material (75%) and laboratory (25%). Lecture grades are based on three (3) class period examinations and a cumulative final (required). Class period exams are 50% multiple choice questions and 50% short answers. The lowest grade of the 3 course exam grades will be dropped. There are no make ups for any reasons for the three course exams. If you miss an exam, it will be your dropped grade. No exceptions for any circumstances. Each lecture exam average will be curved to 72% (unless the average is above 72 in which case it will remain unchanged). The final will be composed of 50 multiple choice questions including topics from all four lecture exams. The final is mandatory and the grade will not be dropped. If you miss the final, you will receive a grade of 0. After one exam is dropped percentages for course exams and final: Course exams = 50% (25% each), cumulative final 25%, laboratory grades (25%).

Grading Scale

A 90 – 100%
B+ 86 – 89%
B 80 – 85%
C+ 76 – 79%
C 70 – 75%
D 60 – 69%
F 0 – 59%

Accomodations for Students With Disabilities

Please follow the procedures outlined at Full policies and procedures are at

Absence Policy

You are expected to attend EVERY lab during the time that you have signed up for. We understand that there are unforeseen circumstances or emergencies that prevent you from attending. If you need to miss lab, you are expected to immediately contact your instructor and TA and provide appropriate documentation for your absence. A very limited number of make ups may be available only for documented absences. No exceptions. If you anticipate missing lab due to scheduled interviews or conferences, please let us know right away so she can find you a make-up spot.

Course Topics


Lec Topic Chap
1 Introductions and The Microbial World 1
2 Microbial Cell Structure and Function 2
3 Microbial Metabolism 3
4 Microbial Growth 5
5 Molecular Information Flow and Protein Processing 4
6 Microbial Systems Biology 9
7 Microbial Regulatory Systems 6
8 Genetics of Bacteria and Archaea 11
9 Biotechnology and Synthetic Biology 12
10 Microbial Evolution and Systematics 13
11 Metabolic Diversity of Microorganisms 14
12 Functional Diversity of Bacteria 15
13 Microbial Diversity 16, 17, 18
14 Taking the Measure of Microbial Systems 19
15 Microbial Ecosystems; Microbiology of the Built Environment 20, 22
16 Microbial Symbioses 23
17 Microbial Symbioses with Humans 24
18 Viral Genome Diversity 10
19 Viruses and Their Replication 8
20 Microbial Growth Control; Clinical Microbiology 5, 28
21 Pathogenicity; Immunity and Host Defenses 25, 26, 27
22 Epidemiology 29
23 Person to Person Bacterial and Viral Diseases 30
24 Vectorborne and Soilborne Bacterial and Viral Disease 31
25 Waterborne and Foodborne Bacterial and Viral Diseases 32


Week Topic
  • Sign up for LabArchives
  • Biosafety Assignment
  • Lab Coat Pick-up-FS209
  • Biosafety Assignment Due (submit prior to lab)
  • Biosafety Review; Overview of Lab Archives Notebook
  • Preparation of a Culture Medium
  • Culturing and Handling of Microorganisms
  • Follow Up: Culturing and Handling of Microorganisms
  • Isolation of a Pure Culture
  • Counting Bacterial Populations
  • Follow Up: Isolation of a Pure Culture
  • Follow Up: Counting Bacterial Populations
  • Controlling Microbial Growth: Experimental Planning
  • Microscopy: Protists of Passion Puddle
  • Controlling Microbial Growth: Lab Work
  • Microscopy: Preparing a Wet Mount
  • Controlling Microbial Growth: Data Collection & Poster
  • - Midterm Quiz
  • Controlling Microbial Growth: Poster work
  • Isolation of Fungi from Air
  • Follow Up: Isolation of Fungi from Air; Submit Draft Lab Report
  • Morphology and Staining of Bacteria
  • Controlling Microbial Growth: Draft Poster Due; Peer Review
  • Microscope Checkout
  • Microbial Metabolism: Enzymes, Metabolic Capabilities
  • Controlling Microbial Growth: FINAL Poster Due (end of lab)
  • Follow Up: Microbial Metabolism and Unknown Identification
  • Poster Presentations
  • Transformation of Escherichia coli
  • Isolation of Plasmid DNA
  • Final Fungi Lab Report Due (submit prior to lab)
  • Follow up: Transformation
  • Digestion of Plasmid DNA (Follow up from Isolation)
  • Unknown Factsheet Due (submit prior to lab)
  • Review
  • Poster Presentations
  • Lab Practical: Techniques and Stations

Final Exam/Paper Date and Time

Online Final Exam Schedule.

Academic Integrity

Read the university's policy on Academic Integrity . The principles of academic integrity require that a student:

  • properly acknowledge and cite all use of the ideas, results, or words of others.
  • properly acknowledge all contributors to a given piece of work.
  • make sure that all work submitted as his or her own in a course or other academic activity is produced without the aid of impermissible materials or impermissible collaboration.
  • obtain all data or results by ethical means and report them accurately without suppressing any results inconsistent with his or her interpretation or conclusions.
  • treat all other students in an ethical manner, respecting their integrity and right to pursue their educational goals without interference. This requires that a student neither facilitate academic dishonesty by others nor obstruct their academic progress.
  • uphold the canons of the ethical or professional code of the profession for which he or she is preparing.

Adherence to these principles is necessary in order to ensure that:

  • everyone is given proper credit for his or her ideas, words, results, and other scholarly accomplishments.
  • all student work is fairly evaluated and no student has an inappropriate advantage over others.
  • the academic and ethical development of all students is fostered.
  • the reputation of the University for integrity in its teaching, research, and scholarship is maintained and enhanced.

Failure to uphold these principles of academic integrity threatens both the reputation of the University and the value of the degrees awarded to its students. Every member of the University community therefore bears a responsibility for ensuring that the highest standards of academic integrity are upheld.

Student Wellness Services

Counseling, ADAP & Psychiatric Services (CAPS)

17 Senior Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901

CAPS is a University mental health support service that includes counseling, alcohol and other drug assistance, and psychiatric services staffed by a team of professional within Rutgers Health services to support students' efforts to succeed at Rutgers University. CAPS offers a variety of services that include: individual therapy, group therapy and workshops, crisis intervention, referral to specialists in the community and consultation and collaboration with campus partners.

Violence Prevention & Victim Assistance (VPVA)

3 Bartlett Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901

The Office for Violence Prevention and Victim Assistance provides confidential crisis intervention, counseling and advocacy for victims of sexual and relationship violence and stalking to students, staff and faculty. To reach staff during office hours when the university is open or to reach an advocate after hours, call 848-932-1181.

Disability Services

Lucy Stone Hall, Suite A145, Livingston Campus, 54 Joyce Kilmer Avenue, Piscataway, NJ 08854

Rutgers University welcomes students with disabilities into all of the University's educational programs. In order to receive consideration for reasonable accommodations, a student with a disability must contact the appropriate disability services office at the campus where you are officially enrolled, participate in an intake interview, and provide documentation: If the documentation supports your request for reasonable accommodations, your campus's disability services office will provide you with a Letter of Accommodations. Please share this letter with your instructors and discuss the accommodations with them as early in your courses as possible. To begin this process, please complete the Registration form on the ODS web site.