Tufts OpenCourseware


  • Students will begin to understand the strategies used by microbial pathogens to establish infectious disease in the host.
  • Students will demonstrate an understanding of the process of microbial and parasitic infection, including a laboratory experience designed to detect microbial growth and identification.
  • Students will enhance their skills in scientific communication and continued learning through the laboratory experience.


Notes on required readings.

You will have access to most of the lecture slides. You will receive lecture outlines and assigned readings in the textbook: Mechanisms of Microbial Diseases (3rd edition) by Schaechter, Medoff and Eisenstein, Williams and Wilkins Press.

Complete digestion of the assigned readings in this textbook is absolutely required for successful completion of the course, and everyone must have a copy. Some exam questions derive from the assigned readings without coverage during the lectures. You should note that the book is somewhat unusual, in that it is not exhaustive in its coverage of any topic; rather, it reads more like lecture notes, which is its intent. In addition, most of the lecturers have provided rough outlines of their lectures in this syllabus, but these outlines are just intended to give either a 'head-start' on recording lecture material and/or a 'most important' distillate of lecture material. Often, the provided outline reflects how the lecturer thinks about a topic, and should not be viewed as a replacement for the textbook.

Notes on recommended readings.

Although successful completion of this course will not require the student to study anything other than the textbook, lectures and lecture outlines, several books have been found to be useful. Two of these,

  1. Microbiology / Bernard D. Davis ... [et al.]. Philadelphia : Lippincott, c1990.
  2. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases / edited by Gerald L. Mandell, John E. Bennett, Raphael Dolin.Philadelphia : Churchill Livingstone, c2000.

are the sort of style of textbooks that you might be more familiar with. There should not be any real necessity to use these books except to resolve some specific confusing point in the textbook or lectures. Mims' Pathogenesis of Infectious Disease (Mims' pathogenesis of infectious disease. London ; San Diego : Academic Press, 1995) is a book that every student should skim at sometime in their careers, and now is as good a time as any. Another text is Mechanisms of Microbial Diseases (3rd edition) by Schaechter, Medoff and Eisenstein, Williams and Wilkins Press and . Remember, however, concentrating on the textbook rather than outside reading should be fine.

Grades and Exams

One multiple-choice quiz will be given, and the questions will draw from material in the first 6 lectures. The quiz will account for 5% of your final grade. Two multiple-choice exams will be given, a Mid-term and a Final, and each will account for 45% of your final grade. The remaining 5% of your final grade will come from the laboratory portion of the course. The Mid- term will cover everything in the lectures from the first lecture and up to and including the lecture on Opportunistic Infections. The Final will only cover material beginning with the lecture on Intestinal Helminths and extending to the last lecture (Viral Exanthams), so it is not comprehensive. Some exam questions will draw on what you learn in the laboratory. Some exam questions will draw partially or entirely on what you learn in the textbook assigned chapters. Finally, most questions will draw partially or entirely on material covered in the lectures and from lecture outlines.