About this course

Infectious diseases have burdened humanity for millennia. Concepts of contagion and its prevention slowly developed in different cultures over centuries. In the 19th century, Louis Pasteur introduced the germ theory of disease, which describes the relationship between microorganisms and illnesses. Microbiology is the branch of biology that focuses on the study of these microorganisms and their relationship to disease processes by describing their characteristics (e.g., species, structure, virulence factors, etc.). Since not all microorganisms are pathogens, and some are actually beneficial to humans, microbiology provides a way to understand the difference between harmful and helpful organisms.

In the previous century, infectious diseases were the most significant causes of morbidity and mortality. After the advent of antibiotics, these diseases have become relatively less prevalent and less morbid than they used to be. They are, however, still encountered in clinical practice. A competent physician must have a good grasp on the most common pathogens in their area of work—to gain a clearer understanding of the pathophysiology of which the pathogens are a part, of effective pharmacological therapies, and of mechanisms of resistance.

In this course, the student will be taught about the major groups and families of microorganisms relevant to human health, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites, and prions. For optimal comprehension, the student is required to have a basic understanding of eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells and the differences between them, as well as of the fundamental concepts of gene expression.




Vincent Racaniello, PhD

Dr. Vincent Racaniello is a Higgins Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at Columbia University, in New York, USA.
He obtained his PhD at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, in New York City, in 1979 and joined the faculty of Columbia University in 1982.
Because of his achievements, he has received several awards, including the Irma T. Hirschl, Searle Scholars Program, Eli Lilly, and NIH Merit Awards. Dr. Racaniello is interested in using new media for medical education; he writes on his virology blog and hosts and produces several podcasts.

Video lectures

01. Bacteria

  • Introduction to Bacteria
  • Bacterial Diseases Staphylococcus & Streptococcus
  • Enteric Bacterial Diseases

02. Viruses

  • Introduction Viruses
  • Viruses Viral Genomes

03. Fungi

  • Introduction to Fungi
  • Fungal Diseases Endemic Mycoses
  • Opportunistic Fungal Infections
  • Subcutaneous, Cutaneous, and Superficial Mycoses

04. Parasites

  • Parasites Plasmodium
  • Parasites Toxoplasma
  • Parasites Leishmania
  • Parasites Trypanosoma
  • Parasites Helminths (Worms)

05. Prions

  • Prions – Infectious Proteins With no Nucleic Acids