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MSc Program
PhD Program
Interdepartmental Programs


Anthony J. Clarke (211 Chemistry and Microbiology, Ext. 3362)
(E-mail: aclarke@micro.uoguelph.ca)

Graduate co-ordinator
Lucy Mutharia (174 Chemistry and Microbiology, Ext. 6349)
(E-mail: lmuthari@micro.uoguelph.ca)

Graduate secretary
Carol V. Schlaht (117 Chemistry and Microbiology, Ext. 3815)

Graduate Faculty

Terry J. Beveridge
BSc, MSc Toronto, PhD Western Ontario - Professor

Anthony J. Clarke
MSc, PhD Waterloo - Professor

Peter Dobos
BSc British Columbia, MSc, PhD Queen's - Professor

Cecil W. Forsberg
BSA, MSc Saskatchewan, PhD McGill - Professor

Peter J. Krell
BSc, MSc Carleton, PhD Dalhousie - Professor

Joseph S.L. Lam
BSc, PhD Calgary - Professor

Reggie Y.C. Lo
BSc, PhD Alberta - Professor

Lucy M. Mutharia
BSc, MSc Nairobi, PhD British Columbia - Associate Professor

Rosalynn M.W. Stevenson
BSc, PhD Manitoba - Associate Professor

Christopher Whitfield
BSc Newcastle, PhD Edinburgh - Professor

Janet M. Wood
BSc Victoria, PhD Edinburgh - Professor

Associated Graduate Faculty
Basil Arif
BSc Queen's University of Belfast, MSc Queen's, PhD Queen's - Great Lakes Forestry Centre

Dave Heinrichs
BSc Manitoba, PhD Queen's - Western Ontario

Miguel Valvaro
MD University of Buenos Aires - Western Ontario

Thammaiah Viswanatha
BSc, MSc Mysore, PhD Indian Inst. of Science - Waterloo

Special Graduate Faculty
Wendy Keenleyside
BSc Western Ontario, MSc Toronto, Phd Guelph

     The Department of Microbiology offers opportunities for graduate studies leading to the MSc and PhD degrees. Faculty strengths and academic resources provide for four major fields of study:

1. Physiology and Structure.
  • Synthesis, assembly, and function of cell envelope components
    (Beveridge, Clarke, Lam, Forsberg, Mutharia,Whitfield).
  • Molecular basis for antigenic diversity (Lam, Whitfield).
  • Microbial ultrastructure (Beveridge).
  • Microbial membrane function (Wood).

2. Virology.
  • Molecular biology of viruses and viral replication (Dobos, Krell).

3. Pathogenesis.
  • Molecular mechanisms in bacterial pathogenesis
    (Lam, Lo, Mutharia, Whitfield, Wood).
  • Microbial pathogenesis of fish (Dobos, Stevenson).

4. Microbial Biotechnology.
  • Development of anti-microbial agents (Beveridge, Clarke, Whitfield).
  • Metal interactions with cell walls; mineral development (Beveridge).
  • Pathogenic mechanisms in bacterial disease; antigen diversity; vaccine development
    (Lam, Lo, Mutharia, Stevenson, Whitfield, Wood).
  • Microbial enzyme technology (Clarke, Forsberg).
  • Vaccine development (Beveridge, Krell, Lam, Lo, Mutharia, Stevenson, Whitfield).

     The department houses the NSERC/Guelph Regional STEM Facility, and is a unit of the Canadian Bacterial Disease Network of Centres of Excellence.

MSc Program

Admission Requirements
     The minimum requirement for admission to the MSc program is a baccalaureate in an honours science program, or the equivalent, from a recognized university or college. The applicant should have achieved an average standing of at least second class honours ('B' or 73%) during the last two undergraduate years. Admission to the program is not restricted to those holding an honours baccalaureate degree in microbiology.

Degree Requirements
     Students must complete at least the minimum university course credit requirements including the departmental seminar requirements. The MSc thesis research project is intended to give the student training and experience in:
  • a comprehensive library search on a specific topic related to the research;
  • research techniques;
  • the design of experiments in collaboration with the research adviser;
  • the interpretation of data, and
  • writing for scientific publication.

     The thesis research should involve experimentation not previously reported in the literature and should lead to a complete study. Whenever possible, the results should yield publishable data, but this is not an absolute requirement for the completion of an MSc program.
     In the case of a student considering transfer from the MSc program to the PhD program, it is important that the research project be one which can be expanded in scope and challenge if the transfer is approved.

PhD Program

Admission Requirements
     Admission to the PhD program normally requires at least honours ('B' or a 73% average), in a recognized baccalaureate program as well as a recognized MSc degree. Transfer from the MSc program to the PhD program will be considered for a student who has achieved excellent standing at the honours baccalaureate level, and who has demonstrated a superior performance and particular aptitude for research during the first three semesters of the MSc program. In exceptional cases, students with an 'A-', (or a minimum average of 80%) standing in a baccalaureate program and a demonstrated aptitude for research may be granted direct entry into the PhD program.

Degree Requirements
     Course requirements are specified by the student's advisory committee and include the seminars. The qualifying examination should be completed no later than the end of the third semester for students entering after completing the MSc degrees and the fifth semester for students entering directly after completing a baccalaureate degree. For students transferring from the MSc to the PhD degree, the examination will be completed before the end of the semester following that in which the transfer was approved.
     The PhD research project is intended to give the student further, more intensive experience than that of an MSc program. In addition, the student must develop the ability to generate innovative research ideas and implement them through carefully designed experiments. The student is expected to develop and demonstrate a high degree of scholarship and expertise in the chosen specialty, and to exert critical judgement. The research must also yield results which, in the opinion of the examination committee, warrant publication in reputable scientific journals appropriate to the area of specialization.

Interdepartmental Programs

MSc (Aquaculture) Interdepartmental Program
     The Department of Microbiology participates in the master of science in aquaculture program. Professor Stevenson is a member of the Aquaculture Interdepartmental Group. Her research and teaching expertise includes aspects of aquaculture; she may serve as adviser for MSc (Aquaculture) students. Please consult the Aquaculture listing for a detailed description of the MSc (Aquaculture) interdepartmental program.

Biophysics MSc/PhD Program
     The Department of Microbiology participates in the MSc/PhD programs in biophysics. Professors Beveridge, Whitfield and Wood are members of the Biophysics Interdepartmental Group. These faculty members' research and teaching expertise includes aspects of biophysics; they may serve as advisers for MSc and PhD students in biophysics. Please consult the Biophysics listing for a detailed description of the graduate programs offered by the Biophysics Interdepartmental Group.


Course/(Credit Value) Term Course Description
Physiology, Structure and Genetics
Advanced Microbial Physiology (0.5)
W A study of molecular structure-function relationships fundamental to the survival and growth of bacteria. Topics for study will be selected from the literature on bacterial cytology, bioenergetics, metabolism, enzymology and adaptation.
Bacterial Structures and Virulence (0.5)
F A study of the roles of bacterial surface structures (LPS, capsules, flagella, fimbriae, outer membrane proteins) in the virulence of bacteria. (Jointly offered by the Departments of Microbiology and Pathobiology.)
Microbial Genetics (0.5)
W A study of recent research developments on the mechanisms of regulation of gene expression, DNA metabolism and genome analysis of microorganisms. (Offered in even- numbered years.)
Molecular Biology of Viruses (0.5)
W Replication strategies of virus genomes including prototypes of different animal, plant and (some) bacterial virus families; mechanism and control of viral gene expression; tumor virology; genetically engineered virus vaccines.
Microbial Genetics (0.5)
W (see above)
Bacterial Structures and Virulence (0.5)
F(see above)
Advances in Immunology and Immunochemical Techniques (0.5)
W Concepts and current knowledge of the diversity of immune response, experimental systems used in studying immunology, antigen-antibody reaction methods, monoclonal antibodies, antibody engineering, hypersensitivity reactions, autoimmunity, adhesion molecules and homing of cells of the immune system.
Monoclonal Antibodies and Antibody Engineering (0.5)
F A lecture and laboratory course. The theory and process of producing monoclonal antibodies by plasmacytoma cell fusion and the theories of contemporary technology in engineering antibodies in vitro.
Selected Topics in Microbiology (0.5)
   This course, offered on an irregular basis, provides opportunities for graduate students to study special topics of mutual interest under the guidance of graduate faculty members with pertinent expertise. Proposed course descriptions are considered by the Department of Microbiology on an ad hoc basis.
Introductory Seminar (0.25)
S, F, W A literature review of a selected area of microbiological research concluding with a written research proposal, and a seminar on the information which is presented within the first two semesters of the program. The course is required for MSc students, but is optional for PhD students who have taken an equivalent course.
Advanced Seminar (0.25)
F, W Public seminars on current microbiological or allied research topics. MSc students give one seminar while Ph.D. students give two seminars. The topics must be on subjects other than the student's area of research.


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