HMI-50306 Microbial Disease Mechanisms


Studiepunten 6.00

Group work1
Course coordinator(s)prof. dr. J Wells
dr. S Brugman
Lecturer(s)dr. ir. HH Kranenbarg-Stolte
prof. dr. J Wells
dr. S Brugman
Examiner(s)prof. dr. J Wells

Language of instruction:


Mandatory knowledge:

ZSS06100 Laboratory Safety

Continuation courses:

CBI-50806 Immunomodulation by Food and Feed;
HAP-31806 Molecular Regulation of Health and Disease;
HMI-30306 Commensal and Pathogen Host-Microbe Interactions in the Intestine.


Infectious diseases and re-emerging diseases are not only a problem of humans but can have major impact on animals and our society. The large scale (mis)use of antibiotics both in healthcare as well as in animal husbandry has led to an alarming number of antibiotic resistant bacteria and currently the World Health Organization (WHO) considers antibiotic resistance as one of the biggest treats to global health, food security and development. In this course course the molecular biology of the interactions of human and, animals with the causal agents of diseases will be addressed, with a focus on bacterial pathogens. The course covers virulence mechanisms such as adherence, invasion, bacterial toxins, evasion of host defenses including the complement system, antimicrobial peptides, killing by macrophages and neutrophils. The course also develops knowledge of reverse vaccinology and anti-virulence strategies as alternatives to antibiotics in the treatment and prevention of disease. This course builds further on the knowledge obtained in the course Basics of Infectious Diseases, their Transmission and Control as well as Frontiers in Medical and Veterinary Biology.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- dentify the key innate and adaptive defense mechanisms of animals, humans and plants;
- explain how pathogens can avoid innate and adaptive defenses of the host;
- explain the mechanisms of virulence and pathogenesis for representative bacterial pathogens;
- identify strategies that can be used to control, prevent and treat infectious diseases;
- evaluate scientific articles on the disease mechanism of a selected pathogen;
- explain the experimental approaches used to investigate pathogen biology;
- discuss pathogen properties and evaluate the most important aspects;
- interpretation of results from practical experiments, integrating scientific information from the literature;
- demonstrate understanding of the experimental approaches;
- acquire safe practices for conducting experimental research on pathogens. 


•    Lectures on mechanisms of virulence and pathogenesis for representative bacterial pathogens
•    Lectures on how bacterial pathogens avoid key innate and adaptive defenses of the host
•    Lectures on strategies that can be used to control, prevent and treat infectious diseases
•    Literature discussions (reflecting on methods, results and conclusion) on research papers describing key principles or interesting    examples of host pathogen interaction
•    Reading of course material and background literature
•    Practical assignments on the (molecular) biology of infectious diseases
•    Analysis and interpretation of results of practical experiments using additional information from scientific literature
•    Oral presentation interpreting the design and results practical experiments
•    Discuss and evaluate interpretation of the results of practical experiments
•    Computer module to apply the key principles of set-up and execution of practical experiments


- written examination on the contents of lectures and reader (65%);
- assessment of the practical report, computer module and group presentation  (20%);
- oral presentation and participation in discussions of research papers  (15%).


A reader will be available in the WUR shop, which contains lecture notes, articles for the course project and the practical manual. On Brightspace all PowerPoint presentations will be available as well as any additional required information.


Verplicht voor: WUBIDBSc Minor Biology of Infectious Diseases2AF