66644 - Viral and Microbial Biotechnology

Academic Year 2021/2022

  • Moduli: Marco Rinaldo Oggioni (Modulo 1) Renato Brandimarti (Modulo 2)
  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures (Modulo 1) Traditional lectures (Modulo 2)
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: First cycle degree programme (L) in Biotechnology (cod. 8005)

Learning outcomes

Course contents

Viral Biotechnologies

Viruses are the most abundant biological entities on Earth and an extraordinary rich source of biodiversity. From this standpoint, the goal of the course is to analyze the possibility to use specific viral functions to repurpose cellular processes. The molecular basis of virus-host interactions will be discussed, in the frame of viral replication strategies, to evaluate the impact of possible therapeutic and biotechnological applications. To this purpose, state of the art methodologies to produce recombinant viruses will be presented.

From the analysis of currently available applications, the course will focus on potential developments of this approach, to encourage proposals/projects.

Three main areas will be covered:

- analysis of structural/functional characteristics of viruses;

- discussion of current biotechnological applications of viruses or viral elements;

- main characteristics of the biotechnological proposal and major evaluation criteria (significance, impact, innovation, research plan).

In more details, the course will be delivered as follows:

Introduction to viruses. General and distinctive characteristics. Schematic representation. Morphological-functional comparison between viruses and other micro-organisms.

Viral structure. Virion structural components. Assembly. Non-structural components.

Viruses’ replication cycles, with major emphasis on virus-host interactions.

Recombinant viruses. Generation methods, applications, and implications.

Biotechnological applications of viral functions.

Possible usage of viruses and/or viral functions for biotechnological purposes.

The biotechnological proposal.

Microbial Biotechnologies

Objectives of the course: (i) to present the main molecular technologies used for the study and genetic manipulation of microbes; (ii) to describe some biotechnological applications in biomedicine, in industrial processes and in bioremediation.


Taxonomy and phylogenesis.

Microbial physiology and ecology.

Analysis of microbial communities.

Biotechnology in biomedicine.

Microbial biotechnology applied to the food and pharmaceutical industry.

Principles in Bioremediation.


Teaching material will be made available in digital format

Teaching methods

Lectures will be supported by Powerpoint presentations and by discussion of relevant scientific reports (appropriate links will be provided)

Assessment methods

At the end of the course, the student will present and discuss a proposal/project, aimed to employ viral/microbial functions for biotechnological purposes, taking in account feasibility, innovation, impact.

Teaching tools

Powerpoint presentations

Office hours

See the website of Renato Brandimarti

See the website of Marco Rinaldo Oggioni


Zero hunger Good health and well-being Climate Action Life on land

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.