Paper Topics for Microbiology: Bacteria and Viruses


You may want to start your paper by choosing a specific bacterium, Archean, or virus and subsequently focus to something you find particularly interesting about that organism.  Alternatively, you may want to choose a current issue or problem in microbiology and focus on the problem, covering the relevant organism from that perspective.  However, it is absolutely required that you discuss the pertinent biology of the organisms you are studying in your paper.


Please talk to the instructors and we can provide you with more specifics on the topics listed below.  Please do not feel constrained by these suggestions.  Follow your own creative idea!


Recent discoveries

Flu vaccine shortages

Bacteria with cytoskeletons/evolutionary tree

Biofilm formation in disease, the environment, or industry

Quorum sensing: how bacteria communicate

Development in prokaryotes- spore formation, Caulobacter, Myxococcus, Streptomyces

Life in extreme environments

Extraterrestrial life

Biodegradation of anthropogenic compounds (PCB's, dioxins pesticides, etc.) by bacteria

Evolution of life

Antibiotic/antiviral resistance mechanisms

How to prevent antibiotic resistance

Antibacterial products

Symbiotic relationships between bacteria and other organisms

Viable, but non-culturable organisms

Anti-bacterial effects of spices


Emerging infectious diseases

Avian flu


Increase in hepatitis C

            Mad cow disease (BSE)

            Norwalk viruses and cruise ship outbreaks



Pathogenesis of agents of concern- anthrax, smallpox, etc.

Preparedness response- vaccines, antibiotic stockpiling, drills


Pathogens and links to chronic disease

            Helicobacter pylori and ulcers

            Chlamydia pneumoniae and heart disease

            Chlamydia and infertility

            CrohnÕs disease

            Guillian-Barre syndrome


Pathogens and links to malignancy

            Human herpes virus and Kaposi sarcoma

            Papilloma virus and cervical cancer

            Human T cell leukemia virus and leukemia

            Epstein Barr virus and lymphoproloferative disorders


Pathogenesis (many bacteria and viruses can be examined in this context)



Novel pharmaceutical products from bacteria or Archaea from extreme environments.

Gene therapy using viral vectors

Level 4 labs

Food irradiation

Use of PCR and DNA fingerprinting for characterization of bacterial communities in soil, biofilms or host environments.

Production or biodegradation of PHVB's (i.e., biodegradable plastics) by bacteria.



Identifying and following an outbreak

Tracking foodborne pathogens

Molecular methods for identifying microbes


Bacteria and your body

Use of botulinum toxin for cosmetic purposes

Acne and bacteria

Normal microbiota and prevention of disease

Flatulence, intestinal bacteria, and probiotics