2023-2024 / SBIM0493-2

Elements of microbiology and general immunology


15h Th, 5h Pr

Number of credits

 Bachelor in physiotherapy and rehabilitation2 crédits 
 Bachelor in motor sciences2 crédits 


Marie-Pierre Hayette, Nathalie Jacobs

Language(s) of instruction

French language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the first semester, review in January


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

This course comprises 2 complementary parts: elements of immunology and elements of microbiology.

Immunology contents (N.Jacobs)

The goal of the course is to understand the mechanisms that allow us to defend ourselves against pathogens intrinsically or through vaccination. The negative effects of an uncontrolled immune response will also be discussed.

Microbiology contents (MP. Hayette - K. El Moussaoui)

This course introduces students to the invisible world of microbes and their essential roles in our daily lives: most microbes are beneficial and protect our biosphere, while a minority are responsible for disease.  Microorganisms are ubiquitous and live in highly varied and complex ecosystems. Their role in different ecosystems and that of man, who influences the evolution of microorganisms responsible for emerging diseases by acting on the environment, are highlighted.


Covered topics :


  • Introduction to complexity and evolution in the field of microbiology.
  • Description of the specific characteristics of microorganisms, helping to understand the development of infectious diseases and the means available to control them.
  • Brief presentation of the 4 main groups of microbes: viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites. Bacteria represent the oldest form of life, at the origin of the evolution of the forms of life we know.
  • Description of the fundamental principles of microbial life, the characteristics of microorganisms, and their interactions with the environment and other living organisms, in particular with man.
  • Description of the complex symbiotic associations between microbes and man: from simple transient colonization to the establishment of a relationship sometimes leading to the declaration of a disease.
  • Description of the main microbial virulence factors and human defenses.
  • Differentiation between pathogenic and opportunistic microorganisms.
  • Principles of different approaches to controlling and preventing infectious diseases: improved hygiene, access to drinking water, use of antimicrobial agents, immunoprophylaxis, sterilization, use of antiseptics and disinfectants.
  • Presentation of recommendations for preventing the transmission of certain pathogens associated with sporting activities.
  • Presentation of infectious risks associated with the microbiological quality of bathing water and means of control.
  • Practical exercises introduce the concepts of biosafety, essential hygiene rules such as hand washing, and basic microbiological techniques.
Table of contents:

Lesson 1: Introduction: infectious diseases, a challenge in 2023

Lesson 2: presentation of microorganisms: bacteria, fungi and parasites (excluding viruses)

Lesson 3: transmission of infectious diseases

Lesson 4: Laboratory diagnostic methods and antibiotic resistance

Lesson 5: Notion of hygiene + Notion of antisepsis and disinfection

Lesson 6: Microbiological control of bathing water

Lesson 7: Infectious diseases: examples of clinical situations

Learning outcomes of the learning unit


To know and be able to explain general immunology concepts and vaccination


At the end of this course and practical work, students will be able to:

  • identify the main issues surrounding microorganisms on our planet (e.g. environment, infectious pathology)
  • describe the global importance of mortality and the evolution of infectious diseases
  • present some key milestones in the history of microbiology
  • describe the different types of microorganisms and their characteristics
  • summarize the growth characteristics of bacteria and the importance of biofilms
  • describe the genetic material of bacteria, the main principles of its modification and new acquisitions
  • describe the main beneficial aspects of microbes
  • understand and explain the host-microorganism relationships that can lead to disease
  • list and briefly describe the main pathogenic factors
  • explain the different modes of transmission of infectious agents
  • understand and summarize available means of defense and prevention against aggression by microorganisms. Food chain safety / drinking water / vaccination / sterilization-disinfection / antibiotics
  • briefly describe the modes of action of antibiotics and resistance mechanisms
  • describe the methods and means of detection and identification of microorganisms used in laboratories.
  • read and interpret a bathing water microbiological control report
  • Understand the need to implement strategies for maintaining shared sports equipment, and to enforce basic hygiene rules to prevent the transmission of certain pathogens.

Prerequisite knowledge and skills

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program.

Planned learning activities and teaching methods


The course is divided in 5 face-to-face lectures.

On eCampus portal supplementary information on immunology is available

On student demand a revision lesson (questions-answers) could be organised


This course is mainly based on lectures and podcasts.  It is structured in several chapters to ensure a progressive and logical understanding of the content.

Students are invited to ask questions after class or by email, mentioning their section.

To illustrate and develop certain subjects taught, practical work is organized online (PHAR0000-5).  Participation in these practical exercises is MANDATORY.  Any absence must be justified by a valid medical certificate. 

An online MCQ test is organized at the end of the practical sessions.  The grade for this test is included in the grade for the first session.

As this course is aimed at future health and sports professionals, the exercises and demonstrations relate to :

(1) clinical microbiology, and introduce the concept of a microbiology laboratory's role in the diagnosis and control of infectious agents

(2) microbiological control of the environment, particularly bathing water.

The practical sessions also familiarize students with basic biosafety considerations, with essential hygiene rules such as hand-washing, with the basic techniques used in microbiology and with the interpretative reading of bathing water control reports.

Mode of delivery (face to face, distance learning, hybrid learning)

Face-to-face course

Additional information:

Combining face to face and distance learning activities

Complementary explanations:

Face to face ex-cathedra courses, podcasts and practical work.  To meet microbiology prerequisites, courses begin with "Elements of Immunology", necessary for understanding host-parasite relationships developed in the "Elements of Microbiology" section.

Participation of 3 persons for teaching:

  • N. Jacobs
  • MP. Hayette
  • K. El Moussaoui

Microbiology practical work is organized online and supervised by Rosalie Sacheli, a scientist in the Clinical Microbiology Department. The slideshows of the theoretical microbiology courses and the practical work manual are online and accessible via "my ULg".

Recommended or required readings


Slide presentation is available on "eCampus" portal after the lecture.


Slideshows of theoretical lectures and notes on practical work, published online and accessible to students in the sections and year concerned by the course, are mandatory.


The following books may be useful references for students: providing a better understanding, developing a topic of interest:

  • MIMS' MEDICAL MICROBIOLOGY, Richard Goering et al, 5th Ed.,2012, Elsevier 
  • INTRODUCION A LA MICROBIOLOGIE, Tortora G.J. et al, 2nd Ed., 2012, ERPI, Editions du Renouveau Pédagogique Inc. 
  • BROCK BIOLOGY OF MICROORGANISMS, MT Madigan et al, 14th Ed, 2014,Pearson 
  • MICROBIOLOGIE, Prescott, Willey JM et al, Traduction de la 8ème Ed,2013, Ed.De Boeck Université
Recommanded Website:

Exam(s) in session

Any session

- In-person

written exam ( multiple-choice questionnaire )


Additional information:


  Writing exam


Written examination in January and September sessions, with multiple-choice questions (MCQs).

An online assessment of practical work is carried out after the last practical session.  These are multiple-choice questions (MCQs).  Grading accounts for 10% of the assessment for the January session only.

To ensure a good understanding of the subjects taught, elements of general immunology (N. Jacobs) precede elements of microbiology (MP. Hayette).

Questions relating to the course (immunology section) should be sent via the "eCampus" portal forum.

For microbiology practical work:

Practical work (online) is organized by Rosalie Sacheli from the clinical microbiology department of the CHU de Liège. Participation in practical work is MANDATORY.


Work placement(s)


Organisational remarks and main changes to the course

Questions related to the course (immunology partim) must be posted on the forum of "eCampus" portal.

For practical works session in microbiology

  • the coordinator is Rosalie Sacheli, scientist in the clinical microbiology service at academic hospital of Liège.
  • Attendance is mandatory



Clinical microbiology Department
University Hospital of Liège,
B-23 Sart Tilman,
4000 LIEGE


For any contact or to fix an appointment, please contact the secretary MRS Wauquier

  • Phone :
  • Telecopy:
  • email : stephanie.wauquier@chuliege.be

Marie-Pierre Hayette; Khalid El Moussaoui


  • stephanie.wauquier@chuliege.be



Nathalie Jacobs

  • n.jacobs@ulg.ac.be
Cellular and Molecular Immunology-Virology
CHU de Liège, B34 +5

Association of one or more MOOCs