Sample courses

Courses at all levels of the Microbiology and Immunology degree program will give you a solid foundation in the sciences, preparing you for more advanced research at the graduate level. While both the Major and the Honours programs have fairly firm requirements, you have flexibility in your choice of elective classes covering every topic from microbial genetics to bacterial pathogenesis.

MICI 2100
Introductory Microbiology and Immunology

This class provides you with an introduction to the basic concepts of microbiology and immunology. You’ll cover a variety of topics, including the structure, genetics, and biology of microorganisms; basic immunology; and host defence mechanisms. The class is designed to inter-relate the major research themes within the Department: bacteriology and microbial pathogenesis, immunology, microbial and molecular genetics, virology and cancer biology. Three hours of labs per week complement the lectures.

Instructor: Dr. Nikhil Thomas

Prerequisites: Grade of B or better in BIOL 1010 and 1011, and first-year chemistry (full credit), or an above-median grade in the Biology and Chemistry components of the Dalhousie Integrated Science Program (DISP).

MICI 3114

Viruses play important roles in infectious diseases and cancer, as well as in model systems for gene regulation, molecular evolution, and gene therapy. In this class, you’ll investigate topics including virus structure; assays; classification; gene organization and expression; host-cell interactions; cell transformation; gene therapy; and molecular mechanisms of pathogenesis. In addition to lectures, you’ll also participate in a weekly tutorial.

Prerequisites: MICI 2100, BIOC 2300 and BIOC 2610, BIOC 2020 and BIOL 2030 (a B average in these classes with a minimum B- in any one). BIOC 3400 must be taken concurrently with this class; the same grade requirement applies.

MICI 3115

This class introduces students to cellular and molecular immunology. Topics include: cells and tissues of the immune system, the structure and synthesis of antibodies, complement pathways, lymphocyte subsets and their functions, hypersensitivity reactions, and the genetics of the immune response.

Prerequisites: MICI 2100, BIOC 2300, BIOC 2610, BIOL 2020, BIOL 2030 (a B average in these classes with a minimum B- in any one except BIOL 2004 which requires a B minimum)

MICI 3119
Physiology of the Prokaryotic Cell

This third-year class provides you with an introduction to the bacterial physiological processes required for interactions with other organisms and the environment. The topics you’ll study include molecular architecture and assembly of bacterial cell components; metabolism and energy production; energy use; adaptation responses to host and environmental challenges; and host-pathogen interactions.

Prerequisites: MICI 2100, BIOC 2300 and BIOC 2610, BIOL 2020 and 2030, (a B average in these classes with a minimum of B- in any one).

MICI 4027
Molecular Mechanisms of Cancer

This advanced seminar class focuses on the molecular mechanisms of cancer. In addition to attending lectures, you’ll also prepare presentations based on review articles and current research papers. Topics you’ll cover during the class include receptors and downstream signaling; oncogenes and tumor suppressors; cancer metastasis and angiogenesis; cell cycle control; and apoptosis.

Prerequisites: Minimum grade of B+ in a 3000-level Microbiology, Pathology, or Biochemistry class. Permission of instructor required. Cross-listings: MICI 5027/PATH 5027/BIOC 4027


A variety of courses offered by other departments are available to Microbiology and Immunology students:

FOSC 3080
Food Microbiology

This class, offered through the Food Science program in the Faculty of Engineering, introduces you to current aspects of food microbiology with special emphasis on spoilage organisms and foodborne pathogens. Among the subjects you’ll cover are food infection and intoxication; factors affecting microbial growth and death; sanitation; and predictive microbiology.

Special emphasis will be given to the microbial ecologies associated with foods from agricultural and marine sources. You’ll also examine the characteristics of emerging food pathogens and their influence on the safety of the food supply, as well as rapid methods of detection of foodborne microorganisms. In addition to three hours of lectures per week, you’ll also attend a three-hour lab.

Prerequisites: BIOL 2004 or MICI 2100

BIOL 3322

In this class, you’ll discover parasite-host relationships; the evolution of parasites and adaptations to the host; modifications of physiology; and the structure and life cycle for a parasitic existence. Since the most extensive research pertains to parasites of man, the emphasis is on human parasites. Two hours of lectures per week are enhanced by three hours of laboratory time.

Prerequisites: BIOL 1010 or BIOL 1020.03 (C- or better) and BIOL 1011.03 or BIOL 1021.03 (C- or better); or DISP (C- or better)

BIOC 4010

This upper-level class, offered through the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, presents the theory and practice of bioinformatics. You'll cover topics including rates of mutations; sequence alignment; database searching; phylogenetic analysis; and bioinformatic tools used for analyzing gene, genomes and proteins. In addition to lectures, you’ll take part in computer-based labs.

Prerequisites: BIOC 3400 or instructor’s consent. Cross-listing: BIOC 5010