CBI-30306 Human and Veterinary Immunology


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Practical intensively supervised40
Problem-based learning10
Course coordinator(s)prof. dr. ir. GF Wiegertjes
dr. M Forlenza
Lecturer(s)prof. dr. ir. HFJ Savelkoul
prof. dr. ir. GF Wiegertjes
Examiner(s)prof. dr. ir. GF Wiegertjes

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

CBI-10306, CBI-20306

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 defense 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 implement knowledge of the functioning of the immune system at both cellular and organ level and 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). Practicals will deal with common immunological techniques, (cell isolation, nitric exide assay, RT-PCR, western blot, ELISA) aiming to understand the host immune response to infection. Practicals also include the histophysiology of immune organs in a number of animal species.

Learning outcomes:

At the end of this course the student is 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 review.


Next to tutorials, students will be asked to study relevant publications and to compose a literature assignment on the immune system. Different subjects will be handled in groups of 10 students approximately, but are individual assignments. Approximately two weeks of practicals will deal with common immunological techniques (cell isolation, nitric oxide assay, RT-PCR, Western blot, ELISA) aiming to understand the host immune response to infection. Practicals also include a study of the histophysiology of immune organs in a number of animal species.


Exam with multiple-choice questions.


Cellular and Molecular Immunology
Abbas, Lichtman & Pillai, 6th edition 2007 or updated 2009
ISBN 978-1-4160-3123-9, Saunders-Elsevier

Review articles
Manual for the practical course.

Restricted Optional for: MBIBiologyMScA: Cell Biology1AF
MBIBiologyMScC: Animal Biology1AF
MASAnimal SciencesMScF: Applied Zoology1AF
MNHNutrition and HealthMScC: Molecular Nutrition and Toxicology1AF