Clinical Microbiology

Lecturer: April Harkins, Ph.D.

Lecture topics: Macroscopic and microscopic characteristics of microorganisms, disease process of infections, antibiotic therapy.

Laboratory exercises: Macroscopic characteristics, Gram staining, Microscopic identification, Biochemical testing of bacteria, Interpretation of antibiotic susceptibility tests.

Persons with diabetes often struggle with infections because poor circulation, especially in the extremities, affects their immune response to the presence of microorganisms.

During the Microbiology component we continue the diabetes case study with our patient developing a wound infection on her foot. A swab of her infected wound is sent to the laboratory where our Young Scholars students will spring into action. They must perform a series of tests to identify the bacteria causing the infection and then determine appropriate antibiotic therapy for the patient.

Students will be introduced to microorganisms (bacteria, parasites, fungi, and viruses) in lecture and laboratory demonstrations. Then they will focus attention on bacterial cells. Students will learn to observe bacterial colonies for macroscopic characteristics such as size, color, texture, and shape. They will stain prepared slides and observe bacterial cells under the microscope.

Next, they will observe and interpret the biochemical reactions of bacteria. Using all of the data gathered, students will use charts to identify bacteria isolated from the patient's infected wound specimen.

Finally, students will interpret antibiotic susceptibility tests to determine which antibiotics are most effective in eliminating the bacterial infection.


CLINICAL LABORATORY SCIENCE

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