Advanced models of human disease
Course infoSchedule
Course moduleMED-BMS41
Credits (ECTS)3
CategoryMA (Master)
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byRadboud University; Faculty of Medical Sciences; Biomedische wetenschappen;
dr. F.J. Arjona Madueño
Other course modules lecturer
dr. F.J. Arjona Madueño
Other course modules lecturer
Contactperson for the course
dr. F.J. Arjona Madueño
Other course modules lecturer
Academic year2017
4  (27/11/2017 to 26/08/2018)
Starting block
Course mode
RemarksPeriod 4a, Monday and Tuesday
Registration using OSIRISNo
Course open to students from other facultiesNo
Pre-registration openfrom 01/04/2017 up to and including 30/10/2017
Waiting listYes
Placement procedureDone manually by Back Office
ExplanationDone manually by Back Office
The main objectives of this module are:
After completion of the course, students are able to
  1. define the translational value of model organisms for the study of human disease
  2. learn to select the appropriate model organism for their medical research, on the basis of physiological and genetic conservation with respect to humans
  3. identify, justify and discuss strengths, limitations, pitfalls and caveats of the different model organisms, strains, and methods for genetic manipulation
  4. design an experiment to answer a particular research question regarding human disease
  5. analyze and interpret morphological phenotypes
  6. distinguish which (analytical and behavioral) parameters can be measured in a particular model organism in the context of a specific human disease
The module 

Biomedical research depends on the use of organismal models to understand the pathogenesis of human disease at a cellular and molecular level and to provide systems for developing and testing new therapies. With the benefit of having control over variables and possible confounding factors, studies in model organisms can provide a more fundamental insight into underlying mechanisms of illnesses and treatments. Over the years, a huge diversity of organismal models for human disease have been developed. Among them, the most prominent models currently used are the mouse (Mus musculus), the zebrafish (Danio rerio), the fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) and the roundworm (Caenorhabditis elegans).
The aim of the course "Advanced models of human disease" is to learn more about the wide range of organisms that exist for studying different aspects of human disease: What type of models are available and which human disease can you study with them? How do you select the appropriate organismal model for your medical research? Which (genetic) tools are available for disease modeling in an organism? And how translational are organismal models? During the course, you will be introduced to models for e.g. renal disease, obesity, intellectual disability, cardiovascular disease, brain development or mitochondrial disease. You will acquire deep knowledge about the physiology of each model organism from a human disease angle. You will learn the current methods available to manipulate gene function in model organisms and induce human disease so that you can eventually select the appropriate methods for your scientific goals. You will know to distinguish morphological and analytical phenotypes that indicate a specific pathology. Furthermore, many scientists are unaware of the genotypic differences between strains within the same species. Since the genetic background can certainly influence the translational value of the model, you will learn not only to select the adequate organism to model a specific human disease but also you will be able to select the proper strain.
The course will give you in-depth knowledge and training in critical thinking through lectures and discussions of the background and principles of the model organisms. Lectures will include visualization of videos of e.g. heart failure, neurological dysfunction or renal failure. In addition, tours through the current facilities housing the model organisms and strains that you will study will be provided. The pitfalls and caveats of each organism to model human disease will be discussed so that you are able to carry out the best choice for your research. Furthermore, you will be trained to justify your choice of organism so that you can convince other scientists about the validity of your decisions.

Instructional modes
Working group

Period 4a, Monday and Tuesday

Course examination
Test weight1
OpportunitiesBlock 4, Block 4