Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

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Unit Overview


The unit deals with the molecular and cellular basis of disease caused by infectious agents. Students gain an understanding of the molecular basis of the interactions between microbes and the host, and learn how these interactions result in disease. The unit describes how molecular strategies are used to dissect mechanisms of pathogenesis and immune responses to the pathogen, and how an understanding of such processes is applied to the development of new vaccines and antimicrobials. The unit also includes strong theoretical and practical components dealing with the basis of molecular technologies that are applied in laboratory diagnosis and epidemiology.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (Perth), QEII Medical CentreFace to face

Students are able to (1) describe the basic structure and function of bacteria and viruses; (2) explain the theoretical basis of molecular techniques such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR), DNA cloning, sequencing and the expression and purification of recombinant proteins; (3) demonstrate the practical application of molecular techniques in the laboratory competently; (4) explain how such techniques are applied to the investigation of pathogenesis, diagnostics, epidemiology and vaccinology; (5) explain aspects of the molecular basis of bacterial and viral pathogenesis; and (6) explain the basis of innate and adaptive immunity and how they are applied to the development of vaccines against infectious diseases.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) continuous assessment and (2) a two-hour end-of-semester examination. 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)
Associate Professor Charlene Kahler
Unit rules
enrolment in
the Master of Infectious Diseases
Contact hours
lectures: 2 hours per week
practical classes/assignments: 3 hours per week
  • 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.