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3d bacteria

Microbiology is the scientific discipline which underpins Clinical and Public Health Microbiology as practiced by doctors, scientists and allied scientific staff such as bioinformatics specialists, mathematical modellers and statisticians.  This is a clinical and laboratory based discipline. The professional clinical and technical governance arrangement and professional development pathways, competency, assessment and regulation are managed through the Royal College of Pathologists. 

Training is available in areas ranging from the clinical, laboratory and public health aspects of infectious disease including infection control in the hospital and the wider community to international health management, policy development, risk assessment and leadership.


Training is provided in all four sections of the Microbiology Services (MS)  division of the Health Protection Agency (HPA).  They are:

  • MS Colindale, London
  • Food, Water and Environment (FW&E) laboratories
  • MS, Porton and the Novel and Dagerous Pathogens (NaDP) unit
  • Specialist Microbiology Network (SMN)  departments and laboratories

Each of these sections have dedicated training officers who have oversight of in-house training and professional development.  Some sections for e.g. MS Colindale have purpose built training laboratories. All sections provide a range of training programmes from short courses lasting for 1-3 days to participation in 5-8 year-long post graduate courses including FRCPath training, MD and PhD programmes.

External training and development activities include facilities for vocational training, work experience placements and BSc and MSc projects. The HPA has affiliations with a number of Universities including the Open University.

Bespoke courses, seminars and training workshops are available on request from Microbiology staff and can be conducted in the UK or in appropriate centres anywhere in the world. Recent examples include purpose built educational activities provided in Vietnam, Germany and Azerbaijan.

On the international front the HPA is a European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) designated training site for the European Programme for Public Health Microbiology Training (EUPHEM). The primary objective of the EUPHEM programme is to provide state-of-the-art training in public health microbiology enabling its fellows to apply microbiological and epidemiological methods to a wide range of public health problems in Europe.

Microbiology Services houses several WHO Collaborating Centres and designated international specialised laboratories. Teaching and training are key components of the remit under the terms of reference of these laboratories.  Examples of specific activities include the training of individuals from low income countries via short-term staff exchanges, participation in training courses, provision of materials for courses and specialist advice on course material.

 View the Health Protection Academy Prospectus: Microbiology


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