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Unit Overview


This unit provides a foundation in microbiology and immunology for future health professionals. The unit will introduce common bacterial, viral, fungal and parastic microorganisms that can cause human disease. It will develop an understanding of how microbial pathogens cause disease and how it is possible to prevent, control and treat these infections. Students will learn about the molecules, cells and tissues of the immune system that provide protection from infection. They will also learn that when these immune processes fail, a lack of immune control can result in cancer, transplant rejection, hypersensitivity, immune deficiency disease, and autoimmunity.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 core unit in the Integrated Medical Sciences and Clinical Practice; Integrated Dental Sciences; Podiatric Health and Medical Sciences; Medical Science major sequences

Students are able to (1) recognise the types and characteristics of medically important microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites; (2) describe how microorganisms cause diseases in humans, including how they spread, invade the body, and affect our immune system; (3) describe laboratory methods used to identify and diagnose microbial infections; (4) explain the mechanisms of action of selected drugs used to treat infections, and the concept of drug resistance; (5) describe strategies for infection prevention and control, including epidemiology, sterilisation, disinfection and vaccination; (6) outline the early defences against infection including barriers, inflammation, complement, cytokines, and antiviral responses; (7) explain how the process of antigen capture, antigen presentation, and antigen recognition by the adaptive immune system creates enduring immune responses; (8) describe activation of T cells and the effector mechanisms of T cell mediated immunity; (9) describe activation of B cells, antibody production and the effector mechanisms of humoral immunity; and (10) apply foundational immunology principles to describe the basis of vaccination, immune deficiency, hypersensitivity, tumour development, transplanation rejection and autoimmunity.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) final examination; (2) in-semester tests; and (3) workshop/laboratory assessments. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Erika Bosio
Unit rules
IMED1003 Cell Survival and Communication
and IMED1004 Health and Society
IMED2002 Blood and Drugs
Approved quota: 240—a quota of 240 has been set and only students who have successfully completed IMED1003 and IMED1004 in the MJD-IMSCP, MJD-DENTS, MJD-PHMSC, or MJD-MEDSI may enrol.
Contact hours
Lectures: 3 hours per week
Laboratories: 4 hours per semester
Workshops: 10 hours per semester

Recommended textbook for Immunology component of this unit is: Abbas, Lichtman, Pillai. Basic Immunology - Functions and Disorders of the Immune System (6th Edition).

  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.