NWI-BM067
Host-microbe Interactions
Course infoSchedule
Course moduleNWI-BM067
Credits (ECTS)3
Category04 (Expert)
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byRadboud University; Faculty of Science; BioWetenschappen;
Lecturer(s)
Coordinator
dr. J. Dominguez Andres
Other course modules lecturer
Examiner
dr. J. Dominguez Andres
Other course modules lecturer
Lecturer
dr. J. Dominguez Andres
Other course modules lecturer
Contactperson for the course
dr. J. Dominguez Andres
Other course modules lecturer
Lecturer
prof. dr. L.A.B. Joosten
Other course modules lecturer
Academic year2023
Period
KW2  (06/11/2023 to 28/01/2024)
Starting block
KW2
Course mode
full-time
RemarksCapacitiy is maximized: see description of the course.
Registration using OSIRISYes
Course open to students from other facultiesYes
Pre-registrationNo
Waiting listYes
Placement procedure-
Aims
  • To understand the basic mechanisms of host-microbe interactions, including the role of the immune system in protecting the host from pathogens and the ways in which microbes can evade host defense.
     
  • To gain a state-of-the art understanding and of the mechanisms responsible for host defense against microorganisms.
     
  • To understand the major components of immunity.
     
  • To distinguish the immune responses to the major classes of pathogenic microorganisms: bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites.
     
  • To study the effects of host-microbe interactions on human health and disease and the ways in which pathogenic microorganisms can cause disease.
Content
This course on host-microbe interactions covers a wide range of topics related to the interplay between the host immune system and microorganisms. It begins by introducing basic concepts of immunity, including innate immunity, adaptive immunity, and trained immunity. The history of immunology is also discussed, providing context for the development of our understanding of host-microbe interactions over time.

The course then delves into the ways that microorganisms can evade the host immune response, highlighting the various mechanisms they can employ to avoid detection and neutralization. Evolutionary aspects of infections, including pandemics and the COVID-19 pandemic, are also covered.

In addition to these topics, the course examines the complex mechanisms involved in immune responses, such as immunometabolism and epigenetics. The consequences of aging on host-pathogen interactions are also discussed. Specific types of infections are also covered, including viral infections (such as COVID-19 and HIV), mycobacterial and bacterial infections, parasitic infections (such as Leishmania infections), vaccine development, and host defense.
Level

Presumed foreknowledge
To ensure a comprehensive understanding of the course material, students should possess a foundational knowledge of biology, microbiology, and immunology. Familiarity with basic concepts in cell biology and molecular biology will be advantageous, as these topics will provide context for the host-microbe interactions discussed throughout the course. A general understanding of the immune system and its components, as well as the principles of infection and pathogenesis, will further facilitate students' ability to grasp complex concepts and engage in meaningful discussions during class. While not strictly required, previous coursework in related areas, such as introductory immunology or microbiology, is highly recommended for success in this course.
 
Test information
The final grade will be based on:
 
  • A practical assessment (30% of the overall grade). There is no minimum grade in the practical assessment necessary to pass the whole course. This assessment will be graded on a scale from 0 to 10.
  • A written exam that will cover the content of the lectures (70% of the overall grade). The written exam will consist of 5 open questions and 25 multiple-choice questions. This assessment will be graded on a scale from 0 to 10. The grade for the written exam about the lectures must be at least a 5.0 (out of 10) to pass the whole course.


The overall grade for the course will be calculated as follows:

Grade of the practical assessment * 0.3 + Grade of the written exam * 0.7 = Overall grade

The minimum overall grade to pass the course will be a 6

Language of the test: English


Examples:

Example 1: A student has 1/10 in the practical assessment and 5/10 in the written exam
Overall grade: 1.0*0.3 + 5.0*0.7 = 3.8 (NOT PASS)

Example 2: A student has 5/10 on the practical assessment and 5/10 on the written exam
Overall grade: 5.0*0.3 + 5.0*0.7 = 5.0 (NOT PASS)

Example 3: A student has 10/10 on the practical assessment and 5/10 on the written exam
Overall grade: 10.0*0.3 + 5.0*0.7 = 6.5 (PASS)

Example 4: A student has 3/10 on the practical assessment and 7/10 on the written exam
Overall grade: 3.0*0.3 + 7.0*0.7 = 5.8 (PASS)


*For the resit:
For those students who do not reach a 6.0 overall, there will be a resit. The resit will consist of a written exam that will cover the content of the lectures (70% of the overall grade). The written exam will consist of 5 open questions AND 25 multiple choice questions. This assessment will be graded on a scale from 0 to 10. The grade for the written exam about the lectures must be at least a 5.0 (out of 10) to pass the whole course. The final overall grade for the subject will be calculated in the same way as for the normal period:
Grade of the practical assessment * 0.3 + Grade of the written exam * 0.7 = Overall grade

*The grade of the practical assessment performed during the normal course will be kept and will still be used to calculate the overall grade of the course. Those students who need to do the resit, will have the option to repeat the practical assessment if they want to, with another set of papers that will be provided. If they do this, the new grade for the practical assessment would substitute the previous one irrespective of whether it is lower or higher.


Practical assessment instructions:
Assessment Overview: In this practical assessment, students will delve into the world of host-microbe interactions by analyzing a preprint scientific paper from BioRxiv. The goal is to create an informative and visually engaging graphical abstract, as well as a critical analysis of the study.
Paper Selection: Students will be given a choice of three relevant papers on host-microbe interactions. Each student should select their preferred option and read it thoroughly to gain a comprehensive understanding of the study.
Graphical Abstract Creation: After reading the chosen paper, students must design a graphical abstract that concisely summarizes the study's main findings and conclusions. The abstract should be visually appealing, easily comprehensible, and incorporate appropriate images, graphs, or figures.
Critical Analysis: Alongside the graphical abstract, students should compose a 200–300-word critique of the study. This analysis should highlight the paper's strengths and weaknesses, suggest improvements, and discuss potential future directions for research in the subject area.

Assessment Criteria:

  • Quality and accuracy of the information presented in the graphical abstract.
  • Effectiveness of visual aids and design elements in the graphical abstract.
  • Comprehension of the scientific paper.
  • Communication skills and critical thinking demonstrated in the analysis.

Guidelines and Resources: The graphical abstract should be designed for a general audience, ensuring it is visually pleasing and easily understood. Students should follow the format guidelines provided by Cell Press journals, which will be available on Brightspace.

Specifics
The course is mandatory within the MSc Biology specialization Microbiology. This means that Microbiology students will always have the opportunity to follow the course if they enroll themselves. The number of places is limited to allow for six additional students from other study programs. Please inquire with the course coordinator, Dr. Jorge Domínguez (Jorge.DominguezAndres@radboudumc.nl).

NB: all students will first be placed on the waiting list after they registered for the course in Osiris. The education center will enroll all students from Microbiology, and also, in accordance with the course coordinator, the 6 extra students from other specializations/programs. This will be done towards the enrolment deadline for Q2. 
Recommended materials
Book
Brock, Biology of Microorganisms, 14th edition, Pearson

Instructional modes
Course
Attendance MandatoryYes

Tests
Digi-Cirrus
Test weight7
Test typeDigital exam with CIRRUS
OpportunitiesBlock KW2, Block KW3

Assessment
Test weight3
Test typeAssignment
OpportunitiesBlock KW2