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Department of Biology, University of York, Wentworth Way, York

* * This course contributes to the Royal Society of Biology's Technical Skills Certificate


The environment is teeming with microbial life. On this practical course you will learn about where microbes live and the aseptic techniques that microbiologists use to study them and to prevent contamination of cultures.

You will learn techniques to protect the operator (i.e. you) and others from contamination by the microorganisms under study and also prevent contamination of cultures and equipment by other microorganisms in the environment.

Microorganisms can be grown in either liquid or solid culture. The simple techniques that you learn will be used to transfer microorganisms between different media without contamination. These exercises will enable you to familiarise yourselves with the sterile techniques and equipment.


The broad aims of the course are to:
  • Provide the foundations of aseptic technique, why it is an important skill for research and how it is applied across bioscience and medical research.
  • Introduce the equipment and techniques of microbiology.
  • Provide practical application to sterilise equipment and inoculate cultures.
  • Provide the dos and don'ts of aseptic technique.

Who is the course for?

Biological and medical scientists who wish to learn aseptic skills and how to refine and apply them. No prior knowledge of aseptic techniques or microbiology will be required, and the purpose of the course is to offer a practical point of access to these techniques in a practical user-friendly form.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding
  1. Understand the principles of aseptic and microbial techniques.
  2. Learn about culturing microorganisms
  3. Learn the different methods of inoculation and types of contamination.
  4. Practical application of generic methods to sterilise equipment, inoculate, culture and assess own aseptic technique.
  5. Understand the importance of refining a good aseptic technique.

Skills, qualities, and attributes

  • Learn aseptic techniques and able to apply them appropriately to microbiology.

Course tutor

The course will be run by Adrian Harrison. Adrian is a microbiologist with over 30 years of experience working in a number of different aspects of microbiology. He started his career working in the field of Bioremediation, using microbes to treat pollution. Since then, he has worked in both environmental and medical microbiology both in a commercial and university environment. He was involved in developing an electronics-based machine to detect microbes in a range of materials (from water to urine / blood samples) and has developed several methods for testing antimicrobial finishes applied to socks and other materials.
Adrian is currently a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Biology at the University of York. He has over 20 years of experience teaching microbiology to undergraduates as well as to school children through outreach activities.  He is a member of the Microbiology Society and works with the Royal Society of Biology as a part of a team that accredits university degrees. 

Technical skills and continuing professional development

This pracitcal based course contributes to the RSB Technical Skills certificate, which can support applications to our professional registers. 
This course is approved for purposes of CPD, and attendees will receive a certificate of attendance and 9 CPD points.


Members - £190 + VAT
Non-members - £380 + VAT

Get in touch with to access these rates:
  • Members of Member Organisations, SCAS members - £285 + VAT
  • Non-members who have completed a membership application and made payment - £190 + VAT


For further information about the course please contact Tia Salter, training and registers officer at or on 020 3925 3460.

Special requirements

If you have accessibility requirements, please let us know during your booking, and we will do what we can to accommodate your needs.


Unfortunately, the Royal Society of Biology is unable to offer refunds on training courses that have been attended. We do, of course, welcome and encourage any feedback from a course and will continue to improve the service we offer.

Terms and Conditions

By booking to attend this event, you are confirming you have agreed to the RSB's Terms and Conditions which can be found here.