The Zika Threat

ASM Acts to Counter Zika Virus Outbreak.

The Zika Diaries

Follow Dr. Vincent Racaniello’s lab as they work on Zika
at his Columbia University lab.

Read a Book Chapter about Zika Virus

Werner Slenczka presents an overview of Zika Virus in the book Emerging Infections 10, just published by ASM Press.
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In this activity, each student is provided with a worksheet and three index cards. Each card indicates a different cell part (e.g. LPS, capsule, DNA). Students are placed in small groups and receive a written scenario regarding a bacterium with a certain goal it must carry out.  They must work together to decide what cell parts are needed to form the basic structure of any cell as well as to carry out the specific functions required by their scenario. To “build” their bacterium they must negotiate and trade index cards with other groups to acquire their desired cell parts. 

Intended Audience



Learning Objectives

By completing this activity, the student will be able to:

  1. Indicate which cell parts belong to eukaryotes or prokaryotes.
  2. Identify which cell structures or parts are common to all cells vs. cell structures only found in particular bacteria.
  3. Identify specific cell structures associated with virulence, and their functions.
  4. Define microbial virulence in terms of a structure-function approach.

Necessary Student Background

None required.


Structure-function, virulence, cell structures, prokarote, eukaryote, pilus, plasmid, cell wall 

Print a PDF of this activity

”Build a Bacterium” Scavenger Hunt (11 pages)