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Cutting edge Immunology: from Chemistry to Metabolism


Admission requirements

Basic understanding of Immunology, Pathogen Host interactions and Cell Biochemistry. Successful completion of How To Write a Research Proposal is strongly recommended. Students should be available for all days during this 4-weeks course.


Period: 23 October 2023 - 17 November 2023

The main theme of this advanced course is to get insight into the newest developments in immunology, notably by getting acquainted with the emerging fields of immunometabolism and chemical immunology. The main goals of the course include a detailed understanding of the complex interactions between metabolically highly active cell types (such as fat cells and microbes) and immune (effector) cells, as well as the understanding of available cutting-edge chemical tools that can be used for studying immunological processes. Furthermore, this course focuses on the role of intrinsic metabolic pathways in the regulation of various immune cell type functions. This course will provide detailed insights into the latest developments in fundamental biological research aiming at understanding the complex interactions between metabolic and immune cells as well as into advanced immunological techniques and some aspects of today’s clinical practice. It is expected that further development of these novel fields of research will lead to better insights and new therapies against infectious and immune-mediated diseases.

Week 1:
An introduction to 1) the basic concepts of the bi-directional interactions between immune cells and metabolically highly active cells, the microbiome, as well as their metabolites, 2) the metabolism of immune cells, and 3) the chemical tools that can be used for immunological research. This first week will include lectures from topic experts, interactive tutorials, and literature presentations and discussions by students.

Week 2 and 3:
The core of the course is centered on in-lab training, where students will select and be exposed to real-life research projects in various LUMC departments involved in the course. This intensive in-lab training period consists of both theoretical and practical work and is mainly aimed at providing the practical skills necessary to conduct a short research project. During these two weeks the duo or trio of students will closely collaborate with the technicians, PhD students and/or postdocs involved in a specific research project. This training period will end with a mini-symposium in which all student groups will present their results to tutors and their fellow students.

Week 4
A self-study assignment in a small group (duo or trio) will take place during the last week of the course, under supervision of a tutor. The students will integrate the theoretical and practical knowledge acquired in the first weeks of the course into a research plan in which a hypothesis will be formulated and a research plan will be developed to address this hypothesis. A symposium will be held on the last day of the course during which all students will present their research plan. The written version of the research plan has to be handed in no later than the first Monday after the end of the course.

Course objectives

The student will obtain a broader and deeper insight into:

  • the interactions between immune cells, microbes and metabolic cells and the role played by these interactions during infection and in the regulation of whole-body metabolic homeostasis

  • the metabolic reactions within immune cells involved in the control of their functions

  • the chemical tools available for immunological research and some of their applications

  • the current challenges in immunometabolism and chemical immunology

The student needs to be able to:

  • formulate hypotheses regarding current challenges in immunometabolism and chemical immunology, and also prepare an essay including a (short) experimental design to address these hypothesis, notably by using the (chemical) tools presented during the course.

  • assess targets for therapy of infectious and immunological diseases using their knowledge of the immune systems and the metabolism of host cells and microbes


All course and group schedules are published on MyTimeTable.

The exam dates have been determined by the Education Board and are published in MyTimeTable.
It will be announced in MyTimeTable and/or Brightspace when and how the post-exam feedback will be organized.

Mode of instruction

Lectures, self-study, work groups, in-lab training, research assignment.
Pro-active behavior is expected from the student.

Assessment method

Written reports/research plan, oral presentations, student performance and involvement.

Reading list

  • Alberts B. et al, Molecular Biology of the Cell, 4th ed. 2002 New York: Garland. Chapter 15.

  • Parham P. The Immune System, recent edition, new York and London, Garland.

  • Swanson et al. Microbe, 2nd ed. Washingthon DC, ASM Press.


Registration for FOS courses, H2W, Scientific Conduct, Course on Lab Animal Sciences and CRiP takes place in lottery rounds in the beginning of July. After the lottery rounds: if you want to register for a course you are kindly asked to contact the student administration at