7 Things Your Students Can Learn from a Virtual Microbiology Lab

Ginelle Testa

Maybe you’ve been teaching microbiology for a while, looking for a way to vary lessons, or you’re a new teacher searching for innovative ways to engage students. From Gram stains to bacterial genetics, Labster has 17 virtual microbiology labs for you to choose from as of fall 2022!

One of the beneficial aspects of virtual labs is that they have applications beyond the classroom, allowing students to integrate their classroom learning with their real-world experiences. So, a student can use simulations to picture their future education or career path. To support you in helping your students to identify careers that use the skills they learn in microbiology, we’ve noted some job titles for each Labster virtual lab.

  1. Biosafety
  2. Gram Stains
  3. Pasteurization and Sterilization
  4. Diffusion Disc Assays/Kirby-Bauer
  5. Bacteria
  6. Genetics
  7. Immunology

1.) Biosafety

There are three main aspects of learning biosafety for microbiology labs. These include personal protective equipment (PPE), containment (primary and secondary), and the lab's design. One of the best parts of a simulation is that there are no actual safety accidents. Students can learn through trial and error virtually to get it right in the classroom.

In the biosafety simulation, students will be introduced to the concept of laboratory containment, a very special laboratory type required to work with hazardous pathogens.

Related careers: Biosafety Specialist, Microbiologist

Biosafety Step inside the labs testing the novel coronavirus

2.) Gram Stains

The Gram stain is one of the most essential procedures in microbiology. (1) Have students ever wondered how bacteria cells get stained during the Gram staining procedure? In one of our five gram stain simulations, Gram Stain: How stains and counterstains work, they can discover how the cell retains a particular color during the experiment and differentiate it under the microscope.

Related careers: Lab Supervisor, Microbiology Technologist

3.) Pasteurization and Sterilization

These concepts help students understand food shelf life and spoilage. In the Pasteurization and Sterilization virtual lab, students will assist an organic farmer increase the shelf life of his peach juice. Together with a food scientist, they’ll learn the basics of food spoilage and shelf life by performing a series of spoilage detection experiments. Later, they’ll explore two types of heat treatment, pasteurization, and sterilization, to eliminate the food spoilage in the peach juice. 

One of the benefits of this lab is that what would typically take students months can be done in a matter of minutes!

Related careers: Pasteurization Technician, Food Preservation Scientist

Pasteurization and Sterilization Virtual Lab Image

4.) Diffusion Disc Assays/Kirby-Bauer

This type of assay is used when a patient develops a bacterial infection. In our simulation, Control of Microbial Growth: Explore decontamination, and selective toxicity, a dental patient’s recurrent infection is becoming dangerously septic. The students’ task is to investigate the cause using diffusion disc assays and prevent further cases by exploring sterilization, decontamination & selectively toxic infection control methods.

Related careers: Dentist, Dental Hygienist

Identification of unknown baceria

5.) Bacteria 

There’s so much to learn about bacteria. There’s identification, structure, isolation, quantification, and more. As a result, we have fifteen virtual labs that include bacteria! One of our most popular virtual labs is Identification of Unknown Bacteria: Help save baby Kuppelfangs from an epidemic! 

Related careers: Researcher, Microbiology Analyst

6.) Genetics

Bacterial genetics is a part of microbiology. In our virtual lab, Genetic Transfer in Bacteria: Prevent the rise of superbugs! Students can prevent their virtual assistant, Dr. One, from wiping out humanity. Complete a number of learning games to understand the three ways of genetic transfer in bacteria, transduction, transformation, and conjugation, and use your learnings to prevent the rise of superbugs.Related careers: Cancer Epigeneticist, Professor of Microbiology

7.) Immunology

“Microbiology and Immunology go hand in hand, as microbes that cause disease trigger an immune response and manipulate the immune system during infection” (2). In Labster’s Immunology virtual lab, students learn that global health is everyone’s responsibility. Students can become a pathogen and invade a body to discover how immune cells and organs provide protection. Learn how researchers from across the planet work together to save the world from pathogenic infections.

Related careers: Cellular Immunologist, Head of Global Affairs (Immunology)

immunology 4

In sum

Students will learn microbiology and be engaged along the way with each of the gamified virtual microbiology labs above. Your students will not only enjoy virtual labs; they’ll start excitedly thinking about a future STEM career. 

Get Labster’s educators’ all-access 30-day pass to try these simulations and hundreds more!


(1) Libre Texts Biology. (2021).Microbiology Labs. Ihttps://bio.libretexts.org/Learning_Objects/Laboratory_Experiments/Microbiology_Labs/Microbiology_Labs_I

(2) Tthe University of Notre Dame. (2022). Microbiology & Immunology. Retrieved from https://biology.nd.edu/faculty-research/areas-of-research/microbiology-immunology/

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