VIR-30806 Fundamental and Applied Virology

Course

Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Lecture20
Practical54
Group work3
Independent study0
Course coordinator(s)dr. ir. JWM van Lent
Lecturer(s)dr. ir. JWM van Lent
dr. ir. RJM Kormelink
prof. dr. MM van Oers
prof. dr. ir. RAA van der Vlugt
prof. dr. ir. JA Kortekaas
dr. ir. VID Ros
dr. ir. GP Pijlman
dr. ir. JJ Fros
Examiner(s)dr. ir. JWM van Lent

Language of instruction:

English

Continuation courses:

Thesis Virology.

Contents:

Note: This course has a maximum number of participants. The deadline for registration is one week earlier than usual.
In this course interactions between viruses and their hosts will be discussed, with focus on arthropod-borne viruses of plants and animals (including humans) and insect pathogenic viruses. The course starts with an introduction to virology, i.e. the biodiversity and evolution of viruses. With respect to plant-infecting viruses the viral infection process, molecular and ecological aspects of their transmission by insects and their control, including biotechnological approaches, will be discussed. With respect to animal viruses the focus will be on arthropod-borne (arbo)viruses that are transmitted to humans and animals via bloodsucking insects (e.g. mosquitoes, ticks). Their unique transmission cycle, their replication strategy and immune evasion in vertebrate vs. invertebrate hosts will be discussed using examples from recent research on West Nile virus. With respect to insect viruses the emphasis will be on the baculoviruses and their interaction with host insects including virus-induced host behaviour. The application of these viruses in biocontrol of pest insects in horticulture, agriculture and forestry. The lectures will provide students with a broad view on virology.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- comprehend the genetic make-up of viruses;
- prepare purified virus;
- comprehend the mechanisms that drive virus evolution;
- explain the biodiversity of viruses;
- comprehend the interactions between plant-pathogenic viruses and their hosts, i.e. comprehend the infection process;
- explain the behaviour of a virus in the plant host;
- analyse infected host cells and examine principles of virus movement;
- comprehend the mechanisms by which plants viruses are transmitted by biological vectors, especially insects;
- explain how viruses spread in a crop;
- comprehend current strategies for plant virus detection;
- apply several tools for virus detection;
- comprehend strategies of virus control, including biotechnological approaches;
- recognize/analyse resistant mechanisms;
- comprehend interactions between the insect-pathogenic baculoviruses and their hosts;
- comprehend the genetic functions of the genome of these viruses;
- comprehend the biocontrol strategies for pest insects using baculoviruses;
- comprehend the concept of zoonotic viruses;
- comprehend the transmission and replication of arboviruses and mechanisms of immune evasion in vertebrates and invertebrates;
- apply infectivity assays (bio-assays) for analysis of virulence of (recombinant) viruses;
- comprehend the conditions and mechanisms that lead to the emergence of new virus diseases both for plant and animal host organisms;
- report on experiments performed: I.e. describe results, analyse and interpret these results, evaluate and make conclusions in view of literature.

Activities:

Interactive lectures (2.5 credit points, C) provide the theoretical knowledge required. Self-study of selected review papers that accompany the lectures (0.4 credit points, Z). Assignment (1 credit point, PO): each student is assigned to a lecture for which he/she has to prepare an exam question consisting of three sub-questions with correct answers. Questions have to be handed in before Friday 24.00 h of the week of the lecture. Questions are collected in one document and made available to students for self-study. During the practicals (2.1 credit point, PI) the student will be trained in a series of specific technologies and assays as used in virology research. During the practicals two students work together. A group of four students report on an experiment by means of a presentation or poster that will be presented during a symposium organized at the end of the course.

Examination:

The final exam in (wk 8) consists of 8 or 9 open questions. Students must provide answers to a total of 5 questions, which should include the first two questions. Students are free to choose the remaining 3 questions. The results will be provided by the end of wk 10. Assignment (PO): each student is assigned to a lecture for which he/she has to prepare an exam question consisting of three sub-questions with correct answers. Questions have to be handed in before Friday 24.00 h of the week of the lecture.
Questions are collected in one document and made available to students for self-study. Questions and answers to the questions are marked by the examiner. Practicals are reported orally or by means of a poster during a symposium on the monday of the last week of period 4. Four students work together and prepare a presentation or poster. The presentations will be evaluated by practical staff and marked by the examiner. Marks for the exam should be at least 5.2 and can be increased to a final mark > 5.5 by the result of the assignment and practical report. Marks for the exam below 5.2 cannot be compensated. The assessment ratio is 10% (PO), 15% (PI) and 75% exam. There is a 3 years limit to the validity of the results of all parts.

Literature:

A study manual and review articles and practical course text will be handed out prior to the course.

ProgrammePhaseSpecializationPeriod
Restricted Optional for: MBIBiologyMScC: Human and Animal Health Biology4WD
MPSPlant SciencesMScE: Plant Pathology and Entomology4WD
MPBPlant BiotechnologyMScB: Plants for Human and Animal Health4WD
MPBPlant BiotechnologyMScC: Molecular Plant Breeding and Pathology4WD