Human and animal health is under constant threat of infectious diseases caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi, nematodes and many eukaryotic endoparasites that are transmitted by a range of vectors, usually insects and mites, or contaminated food. The diseases comprise (bird) flu, bluetongue, BSE, Candidiasis, Campylobacteriosis, malaria, listeriosis, Lyme disease, Salmonellosis, swine fever, West Nile virus, Yersinia, and many others. Many of these infectious diseases have a large impact on society and feature in the media headlines. Although excellent examples exist of effective control of infectious diseases, new diseases arise due to human activities as well as development of resistance to antibiotics and antimycotics. Also climate change, international travel and commerce may give rise to diseases in countries where these diseases do not exist currently. Furthermore, changes in nature management may lead to alterations in the distribution and abundance of vectors such as ticks. Exotic food and food contamination with pathogenic microbes can give rise to new diseases and allergies. A better understanding of the virulence mechanisms of pathogens, pathogenesis and epidemiology is important to the development of new strategies for prevention and treatment of infectious diseases.
After successful completion of this minor students are expected to be able to:
- understand the molecular biology, physiology and ecology of representative pathogens in interactions with their host and vectors;
- understand the strategies of pathogens to exploit their hosts and of hosts to defend themselves against their pathogens and how this information can be used to develop management tools to combat infectious diseases or their vectors;
- understand the epidemiological aspects of infectious diseases;
- understand the financial impact of infectious diseases at different levels (farm, sector, nation);
- integrate scientific information from different disciplines such as nematology, entomology, virology, phytopathology, epidemiology and economics in the context of infectious diseases of humans and animals;
- apply experimental approaches towards investigating the biology of infectious diseases;
- recognize state-of-the-art scientific advances in the biology of infectious diseases of humans and animals.
BSc Minor Coordinator
Prof. M. Dicke
This minor is interesting for all BSc students with VWO-level Biology.
Components of the BSc Minor