With a degree in microbiology, you will be well prepared to undertake graduate study in any of the life sciences or to pursue a professional degree in medicine, veterinary medicine, or dentistry. You will be ideally suited for employment in biotechnology, pharmaceutics, medical and forensic sciences, biological research institutes, hospital laboratories, hospital supply companies, or the food industry.
The teaching and research interests of the microbiology faculty span all aspects of interactions of microorganisms with animals and the environment. Using microorganisms and cell cultures as model systems, today’s microbiologists employ the tools of molecular biology and biochemistry to identify and examine the molecules central to life processes.
In microbiology courses you will learn about many ways in which microorganisms are essential for the survival of all living organisms. A variety of topics, ranging from the analysis of molecules — protein structure and function; the structure, organization, and expression of genes — to the analysis of whole organisms — biodegradation and biotransformation — will demonstrate the importance of microorganisms in the environment.
Although humans can reap many benefits from microorganisms, there are times when microbial processes are detrimental to humans. You will learn how some microorganisms cause disease, and you will become familiar with the elaborate mechanisms used by potential victims to combat invasion by bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. This information is being applied to the development of modern medical techniques such as the diagnostic use of DNA and antibody probes to identify disease-causing agents, and the production of recombinant subunit vaccines.
As a microbiology major, you will learn how microbial genes, proteins, and processes are being exploited in the exciting field of biotechnology to help cure diseases, generate alternative fuels, produce new antibiotics, and recover valuable metals from ores. You can choose to do laboratory research as part of your undergraduate curriculum and participate in the daily operations of a laboratory conducting research at the forefront of these and other areas of microbiology and immunology.
You will learn about:
- Recombinant DNA techniques
- Role of enzymes in metabolic processes
- Molecular architecture of microbial cells
- Microbial diversity
- Transfer of DNA in bacterial populations
- Modern applications of microbial processes: vaccine production, water treatment, alternative fuels, production of antibiotics
- Regulation of gene expression
- Growth of microbial cells and populations
- AIDS: the virus, and the molecules that are important in the disease
You will obtain laboratory experience in:
- Gene cloning
- Antigen-antibody interactions:
- Western blotting, enzyme-lined immunoassay, immunofluorescence
- The use of microorganisms for chemical analysis
- DNA-agarose gel electrophoresis
- Determining environmental factors that influence microorganisms
- Transposon mutagenesis
- Generation of antibodies
- Enzyme assays
- The analysis of microbial diversity
- The isolation and analysis of plasmic DNA
- Culture of T-lymphocytes
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Requirements | Sample Curriculum | Microbiology Handout
Scholarships for Microbiology Majors | Minor in Microbiology