CBI-30306 Human and Veterinary Immunology


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Individual Paper10
Independent study0
Course coordinator(s)dr. M Forlenza
Lecturer(s)dr. M Forlenza
Examiner(s)dr. M Forlenza

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

CBI-10306 Cell Biology; CBI-20306 Cell Biology and Health.

Continuation courses:

Internship or Thesis.


The object of the individual is to survive as an individual. To maintain integrity organisms have developed a highly complex and interactive immune system. Although the immune system of vertebrate species is similar, there certainly is more than one method of individual defence that is successful. In fact, the human immune system is just one of many successful mechanisms that operate in the animal world. To reach a level of understanding of the complex system that will allow us to understand why malfunctions such as autoimmunity and immune deficiency develop, we have to consider the system down to its basic components and their functions. Animals, just like humans, suffer from a range of infectious diseases. As veterinary medicine has advanced, prevention of disease has become a priority as healthy food comes from healthy animals. One of the best means of preventing disease is by creating immunity in the animal. This is usually achieved by vaccination. The aim of this course is to provide advanced knowledge on the functioning of the immune system at both, cellular and organ level as well as its evolutionary development. The expertise level is such that it prepares for an immunological Internship (e.g. with a Bio-Medical Group) or a thesis at the Cell Biology and Immunology Group. The (biotechnical) development of vaccines will be dealt with in another course (CBI-30806). Practical's will deal with immunological techniques, (cell isolation, nitric exide assay, RT-PCR, western blot, ELISA) aiming to understand the host immune response to infection. Practical's also include the histophysiology of immune organs in mammalian and non-mammalian species.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of of this course students are expected to be able to:
- define and memorize the immune defence reactions against pathogens and the basis of the development of deficiency and auto immunity;
- define and memorize the organs, cells and molecules that play a major role in this defence;
- discuss the differences between the mammalian immune system and the immune system of lower vertebrates;
- apply the theoretical knowledge acquired during the course to formulate research questions relevant to an internship or thesis;
- apply the practical knowledge acquired during the course to resolve research questions applicable to an internship or thesis;
- critically evaluate research papers and translate these into a comprehensive personalized review.


The course is divided into 3 blocks. Week 1-2 lectures will be on Monday, Wednesday and Friday in the afternoon; Tuesday and Thursday are for self-study, which is highly necessary to keep up with the intensity of the course. In week 3-4, students will be asked to study relevant publications and to compose an individual paper dealing with various aspects of the immune system. Different subjects will be handled in groups of 10 students approximately, but are individual assignments. The report is due on Friday of week 4.
In week 5-6, practicals will deal with immunological techniques (cell isolation, nitric oxide/arginase assay, RT-PCR, Western blot, ELISA, cytokine reporter assays) aiming to understand the host immune response to infection. Practical's also include a study of the histophysiology of immune organs in mammalian and non-mammalian species. A report about the results obtained will be handed in on Friday of week 6.


- individual paper covering the literature assignment. The final score accounts for 20% of the final mark;
- report written in couples covering the practicals. The final score accounts for 10% of the final mark;
- printed exam with 60 multiple choice questions. The final score accounts for 70% of the final mark;
- for the reports, as well as the final pc-based exam a minimum of 5.0 needs to be scored.


Abbas, K.A,; Lichtman, H.H.; Pillai, S. (2011). Cellular and Molecular Immunology. 9th ed. Saunders-Elsevier. ISBN 978-0-323-47978-3. For sale at the WUR-shop.
Manual for the practical course and review articles for the literature assignment will be provided during the course.

Restricted Optional for: MBIBiologyMScC: Human and Animal Health Biology1AF
MASAnimal SciencesMScE: Molecule, Cell and Organ Functioning1AF
MASAnimal SciencesMScB: Nutrition and Metabolism1AF
MPBPlant BiotechnologyMScB: Plants for Human and Animal Health1AF
MNHNutrition and HealthMScC: Molecular Nutrition and Toxicology1AF