• Offered by Biology Teaching and Learning Centre
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Biology
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Prof David Gordon
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in Second Semester 2015
    See Future Offerings

The course will describe how ecological factors play an important role in animal health.  For example the gain and loss of strains from a host, within host population dynamics, e.g. competition, and among host dynamics, e.g. transmission.  Transmission will be examined in the light of many recent studies looking at how social networks are important determinants of disease transmission in a population.  Many of these questions will be addressed looking at individual bacterial species and a variety of hosts, both human and animal.

The course will also look at the animal microbial communities, and their role in nutrition, disease prevention, and as a cause of disease.  The course would include topics related to the diversity of host associated microbial communities, including the factors affecting the composition and stability of these communities.

The course will include a significant section on the evolution of bacterial genomes and accessory elements, in particular the evolution of virulence and bacterial adaptation.  The course would emphasise the fact that bacteria evolve in ‘real time’ as it were and that new pathogens are continually emerging.  For example, the newly evolved E. coli intestinal pathogen that caused disease outbreaks in Europe.


Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

On satisfying the requirements of this course, student will have the knowledge and skills to:

1. Investigate the processes responsible for shaping the clonal composition of a bacterial species as well as the bacterial community composition within a host.
2. Critically evaluate how the human gut microbiota influences human health.
3. Critically evaluate how spatial relationships and social interactions determine bacterial transmission among hosts.
4. Investigate and analyse quantitatively the processes that underlie bacterial genome evolution.
5. Apply a range of bioinformatics techniques used in comparative genomics.
6. Employ high order laboratory techniques.

Other Information


Indicative Assessment

Assessment will be based on:
  • 70% Final practical report (LO-1-5)
  • 30% Final examination (LO 1-5)

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2 Lectures per week and a 3 hour practical per week.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed 96 units toward a degree, including any BIOL 1000 or 2000 level courses.

Prescribed Texts


Assumed Knowledge

Have completed 1st and 2nd year biology courses and completion of 96 units toward a degree


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2015 $3096
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2015 $4146
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
2842 20 Jul 2015 07 Aug 2015 31 Aug 2015 30 Oct 2015 In Person N/A

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