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Microbiology

Microbiology course at the Faculty of Biology and Environmental Protection, University of Łódź

 

Long-term experience in a new form

Microbiology has been a scientific discipline as well as a teaching subject  at the University of Lodz since its foundation by prof.Bernard Zabłocki (member of the Polish Academy of Sciences) in 1945. Teaching students in the field of microbiology was conducted within the microbiology specialization in the Biology course of studies. In the academic year 2008/2009 an independent course in Microbiology was established.

 

General information about the course

The course in Microbiology offers a system of first-cycle studies  – bachelor (three years), with a possibility to continue the studies for another two years to obtain the second degree – master, within one specialization chosen – medical microbiology or laboratory diagnostics, and further start a post-graduate course at the Physiological-Microbiological Centre at the University of Lodz.

Both first-cycle and second-cycle studies are conducted in two systems: full-time and evening part-time programmes. There is a fee for the part-time studies.

Programmes of studies are prepared and realised according to the regulations of the European Credits Transfer System (ECTS), which means that each subject is given a number of credit points. This system allows completing part of studies at other higher education institutions, also abroad.The credit points obtained can be transferred and accepted by own university.

 

Course: Microbiology

Level: 1 (first-cycle / bachelor studies)

Profile: general academic with practical elements

Form of studies: full-time and part-time

Professional title obtained by a graduate: Bachelor of Science in Microbiology

 

Description of the course

The course in Microbiology was started in Poland in 2008 at the University of Łódź, as an original programme. A graduate of the first-cycle studies obtains a title of a Bachelor of Science. Microbiology students acquire not only knowledge of general biological issues based on mathematics and natural sciences, but also theoretical knowledge concerning a wide range of microorganisms (bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites) occupying different ecological niches, including those in the human organism and other higher forms of life. The knowledge of morphology, physiology, genetics and ecology of microorganisms is supported by the knowledge of their practical applications in the industry, agriculture and environmental protection. An important part of the teaching process involves classes in immunology, serology and other related disciplines, which allow students to understand interactions between the host organism and infectous agents. During a number of practical workshops students learn basic techniques used in microbiological (clinical, industrial, environmental control), serological and biochemical laboratories. They also acquire skills in statistical analysis of the obtained results of measurements and identification. Moreover, they develop their knowledge of English at the level which allows them to make use of data bases and professional literature.

 

Prospects of employment and further studies

Thanks to the obtained knowledge and laboratory experience,  graduates of the first-cycle microbiology studies are well-prepared for work in diagnostic, industrial and research laboratories, especially those connected with human and animal clinic, quality control, environmental protection and industry e.g. cosmetic, pharmaceutical, food production. They can also select, process and systematise information in the fields of microbiology, immunology and other related disciplines and convey it in a written and oral form. After completing the first-cycle programme a graduate can take up the second-cycle studies in microbiology or other related fields such as biotechnology, biology, chemistry, environmental protection.

 

 

Course: Microbiology

Level:  2 (second-cycle / master studies)

Profile:  general academic with practical elements

Form of studies:  full-time and part-time

Professional title obtained by a graduate: Master of Science in microbiology, the course includes medical microbiology and laboratory diagnostics.

 

Description of the course

The course in Microbiology was opened in Poland in 2008 at the University of Łódź as an original programme. The second-cycle studies began in the academic year 2011-2012. A graduate of the second-cycle microbiology studies obtains a title of Master of Science in microbiology, with the specialization in medical microbiology and laboratory diagnostics. Graduates acquire detailed microbiological knowledge including the latest scientific and practical achievements as well as advanced knowledge in the fields of immunology, biotechnology, microbial genetics, clinical biochemistry and molecular biology. Students obtain extensive theoretical knowledge of human and animal pathogenic bacteria, which act as natural microflora necessary for life processes, are used in the prophylaxis of infectious diseases and increase the quality of life. A large part of the programme (over 60%) involves practical workshops, including specialistic laboratories where students acquire skills of practical identification of microorganisms in clinical materials, food, products of biotechnological, cosmetic and textile industries, learn modern methods in serology, cell immunology, immunochemistry, microbial genetics, industrial microbiology and microbiological ecology. They obtain knowledge concerning the epidemiology of infectious diseases, pathologies with an immunological background, the applied methods of treatment and prevention, strategies of developing new drugs and medical substances. Some specialistic laboratories, seminars and master of science workshops have a flexible, multipurpose character, which enables students to make their own choices according to individual interests. While preparing their master theses students get involved in the research work of the Institute of Microbiology, Biotechnology and Immunology, are co-authors of publications containing the results of research. Some classes are conducted according to students’ own ideas, which allows them to develop independence in learning, following new scientific achievements and solving practical problems. Students also obtain advanced skills in statistical analysis. Additionally, they develop their knowledge of English on the level which allows them to make use of data bases and professional literature as well as prepare multimedia presentations, scientific communications and discuss scientific issues with foreign colleagues. Students are provided with many opportunities to participate in holiday and semester internships abroad at leading institutions of higher education all over the world, which enables them to get acquainted with other forms of education, working on a thesis, professional development, finding cooperation with foreign researchers and scientific centres. They also take part in domestic and international conferences organised by the Institute of Microbiology, Biotechnology and Immunology. It is a tradition of the Institute that our workers cooperate with students both during laboratory practice and consultation hours. A direct Internet connection is used in the realisation of the syllabus. The Institute has a very good and constantly developing didactic base, modern equipment, animal quarters for doing research on the models of experimental animals. Highly specialized scientific staff of the Institute entitles The Faculty of Biology and Environmental Protection to award the degree of a doctor and a habilitated doctor (as the only educational institution in Poland) in the field of microbiology. The Faculty of Biology and Environmental Protection has very good conference, hotel and research facilities in Łódź and the surrounding area (research stations in Spała, Tresta and Pęczniew), which were modernised during the realisation of European Union projects, specialistic measurement and research apparatus, audiovisual and computer equipment as well as a museum and library collection. The Faculty staff, including 80 independent scientific and didactic workers, ensure high teaching standards.

 

Possibilities of graduates’ employment and/or continuation of education

Due to the acquired knowledge and practical skills, a graduate of the second-cycle studies in microbiology, within the specialization of medical microbiology and laboratory diagnostics is well prepared to work in research, medical, epidemiological supervision, industrial (food, pharmaceutical, cosmetic, chemical), quality control and environmental protection laboratories as well as to perform group tasks, including research work in an interdisciplinary environment, also playing a role of a consultant in the fields of microbiology and immunology. A graduate is able to express opinions, make decisions or take action and feels responsible for the equipment and safety of own and other people’s work. Graduates have a habit of continuous learning, are open to new trends and working techniques, modernization and raising the effectiveness of performed tasks. They are prepared for independent development  of professional skills and takin up doctoral studies (third-cycle). They can find employment as teachers after completing an additional course.

 

Foreign trainings

We are proud of our longlasting cooperation with many scientific centres all over the world. It results not only in new research projects but also creates a possibility of students’ exchange between the cooperating institutes. Moreover, microbiology students can participate in many foreign educational projects and scholarships.

SOCRATES/ERASMUS – students’ exchange where candidates continue studies for one or two semesters at the European Union universities included in the programme.

UREKA – Infectious Disease Research Programme – a three-month scholarship programme funded by the Irish Ministry of Science, where students supervised by tutors carry out their own research projects and   participate in workshops in the field of research ethics, research documentation and presentation of results.

IAESTE – the International Association for the Exchange of  Students for Technical Experience – offers foreign trainings for students of the Polish universities (including post-graduate  candidates). These are paid practicals, lasting from 6 to 12 weeks and taking place in one of over 90 countries. The Institute of Microbiology, Immunology and Biotechnology has hosted foreign students for IAESTE practicals for five years and every year it gets a few offers for its students from foreign universities. So far microbiology students have participated in the trainings in Switzerland, Norway, Columbia, Austria, Spain, Serbia and Mexico.

 

Organisational units responsible for education in the fields of microbiology, immunology, microbial genetics and biotechnology:

  • Department of Immunology and Infectious Biology (the Head – prof. Magdalena Mikołajczyk-Chmiela) consists of two sections and two laboratories:
  • Cell Immunology Section (the Head – prof. Magdalena Mikołajczyk-Chmiela),which deals with a widely understood issue of Mycobacterium tuberculosis infections, immunology of infections by tuberculosis bacilli,  markers of genetic and immunological susceptibility and resistance to tuberculosis, searching for new immunological methods of preventing the results of allergic infections.
  •  Infectious Biology Section (the Head – prof. Barbara Różalska), which focuses on  infections caused by staphylococci and fungi of the genus Candida, mainly chronic occurring with the participation of biofilms formed by these microorganisms, their interactions with the host organism and the phenomenon of their drug resistance as well as alternative strategies of fighting those infections using new drugs including substances of plant origin with a potential bacteriocidal activity.
  • Immunoparasitology Section ( the Head – prof. Henryka Długońska), which deals with the problems of Toxoplasma gondii infections, antigens of these parasites, immunological reactions accompanying the infections, designing commercial tests enabling quick diagnostics of toxoplasmosis as well as prophylactic vaccines.
  • Gastroimmunology Section  (the Head – prof. Magdalena Mikołajczyk-Chmiela), which conducts basic and diagnostic studies on infections caused by Helicobacter pylori, does research on the antigens of these bacteria and their interactions with the host’s immunity cells as well as people’s genetic susceptibility to H. pylori  pathogenic activity (gastric and colon ulcers, myocardial ischaemia).
  • General Microbiology Section (the Head – prof. Antoni Różalski), which conducts immunochemical and structural studies of the genus Proteus bacteria and works on their serological classification. It is also involved in the structural investigation on the core oligosaccharide of the Proteus cell wall lipopolysaccharide and establishing the markers of the serological specificity of this region.
  • Bacterial Immunology Section (the Head – prof. Antoni Różalski), which deals with identification and description of pathogenic factors of bacteria belonging to the genus Proteus and genus Providencia, including fimbriae responsible for the adherence of haemolysins and proteases, resistance to antimicrobial agents found in human serum, capability of  swarming growth (Proteus sp.). It investigates the chemical structure and antigenic specificity of the lipopolysaccharide (LPS) of the Proteus and Providencia rods, the role of bacterial biofilm in the colonisation of urinary tract catheters by Proteus mirabilis rods as well as bacterial communities/consortia and their role in urinary tract infections. There have been efforts made to isolate nanobacteria from urinary stones in kidneys, very small microorganisms deposited on the surface of the apatyte? layer.
  • Department of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology (the Head – prof. Jerzy Długoński. Its areas of scientific study are: microbiological production of hydrocortizone and testosterone through biodegradation of plant and animal  steroles. Production of biosurfactants by industrial strains of the filamentous fungus Curvularia lunata – biosynthesis of the surfactant. Production of lytic enzymes degrading microbial cell wall polymers by the strains Trichoderma viride. Biodegradation of toxic organic tin compounds (TBT, TPT) by the strain Curvularia elegans. Bioaccumulation and removal of toxic metals, selective zinc recovery/ remediation/odzyskiwanie from steel works waste in the presence of other heavy metals by the filamentous fungus Verticilium marquandi. Investigation of toxicity mechanisms of hydrophobic xenobiotics and heavy metals using microcalorymetry? and digital analysis of the microscopic image.
  • Microbial Genetics Section (the Head – prof. Adam Jaworski) . Investigation of the spacial structure of a bacterial chromosome. Genetic differentiation of  clinical strains of the fungi from the genus Trichophyton and genus Microsporum isolated in Poland. Using molecular methods in the epidemiological investigation of tuberculosis in Poland andin the identification of atypic bacilli.

All the units of the Institute of Microbiology, Immunology and Biotechnology belong to the interdisciplinary Centre for the Study of Biological Invasive Agents at the University of Lodz, nr 334 coordinated by the Department of Immunology and Infectious Biology.

The workers of the Institute obtained a number of grants: approximately 40 grants from the Scientific Research Committee and the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, several apparatus? Grants from the Ministry, 4 grants from the Foundation for the Polish Science, 2 grants from the President of Lodz, a grant from the Humboldt?? Foundation and an apparatus grant from the Clinical Research Centre, Harrow, London, a grant in the Polish-French project Polonium, a grant from the Polfarma Company, a grant in the European Union project – INCO Copernicus.

The workers of the Institute of Microbiology, Immunology and Biotechnology  have participated in many long-term scientific scholarships and worked as visiting researchers in the most renowned specialistic scientific centres in Germany, Great Britain, the USA, Switzerland, Belgium, Japan, Australia, Sweden, France, Ireland, Finland.

Unique syllabus

The  syllabus includes over 60% of practical workshops, where students carry out investigations by themselves, thus getting familiar with new microbiological diagnostic  methods, ways of marking?? microbiological contaminants as well as the specificity of work with clinical material,They also learn genetic and immunological techniques and an ethical conduct while working on laboratory  animal models. The classes organised according to the latest knowledge and following the Polish Standards allow students to familiarise themselves with the specificity of work in pharmaceutical and cosmetic laboratories, in the protection of the environment, food production, farm animals breeding. Classes in clinical microbiology, serology and immunology as well as microbial genetics conducted on the material from patients prepare students to work in hospital laboratories and other units of medical care.

 

Modern laboratories

In 2008 the building accommodating the Institute of Microbiology, Immunology and Biotechnology was thoroughly renovated. Workshop rooms and experimental laboratories meet the highest standards. New specialistic laboratories were built to work on highly pathogenic bacteria including the bacilli of tuberculosis and tissue cultures. Workshop rooms have been designed in a practical way facilitating the work of students and teachers, most of whom have a doctoral degree. The modern equipment ensures a high level of safety. There are state-of-the-art audiovisual appliances. The Institute possesses  modern animal quarters for breeding mice, guinea pigs and rabbits in conventional conditions as well as in the conditions with strict hygenic standards.

 

Future prospects

Graduates of the Microbiology course possess konowledge and skills in microbiology, immunology, biotechnology and microbial genetics as well as other biological and medical sciences. They are able to handle problems connected with the influence of microbes on live organisms in the natural and industrial environments. They can interpret, process and authorise research results, and form opinions according to legal and ethical regulations. Graduates are trained to work in:

  • Microbiological, serological and immunological laboratories in the health care units
  • Laboratories preparing expertise in the fields of microbiology and immunology, concerning widely used products, also products for medical application
  • Veterinary laboratories
  • Sanitary supervision laboratories
  • Laboratories in food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries
  • Centres for the conservation of nature and environment
  • Vocational schools of all levels running courses in microbiology, serology and immunology

 

Microbiology graduates have acquired a habit of continuous learning and developing their knowledge, they are open to new trends and working techniques as well as increasing the efficiency of performance in the workplace. Graduates with a master degree are able to organise and supervise team work. They know how to cooperate with the specialists from other fields, also playing a role of experts in microbiological and immunological issues. They are prepared for scientific work, continuing their education on the third (PhD) degree  and doing the teaching jobs in microbiology, immunology, biotechnology and other related disciplines. They have the right qualifications to instruct members of the society how to prevent infectious diseases and to explain the role of microbes in the protection of the environment. It is worth emphasising that the knowledge and skills acquired during the studies allow graduates to take on work in the related jobs: paramedical and medical. Being familiar with the rules of laboratory work, organisation, ethics, quality systems, research documentation, statistical analysis and presentation of results using specialised software, graduates can successfully work on the posts of:

  • A monitor of clinical research
  • An editor in scientific journals
  • A scientific consultant
  • A laboratory worker
  • A medical representative