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Pathogen-Host Interactions part 2

Vak 2012-2013

Admission requirements

Students should be familiar with the contents of the course “Immunology” and “Pathogen Host Interactions, part I” before starting in this course.


The course Pathogen Host Interactions, part I focused on understanding of the nature of pathogen-host interactions at the cellular and molecular level. In part II, the nature of immune evasion strategies employed by viruses, bacteria and parasites will be addressed at the cellular and molecular level. Many pathogens have developed successful strategies to evade host immunity. The major host defense systems against pathogens are covered in the module Immunology (BB011) and include non-specific and specific immune responses, i.e. humoral and cellular immune responses.
The programme of part II consists of sections on intracellular evasion strategies and extracellular evasion mechanisms, and a workshop on prion diseases. Each section starts with an introductory lecture and comprises several self study assignments. The assignments will be discussed and elaborated upon in a workgroup. The sample exam questions will be discussed during the workgroup meetings in order to prepare the students for the exam. Furthermore, State-of-the-Art lectures on specific topics in the filed of immune evasion will be offered to the students to broaden and deepen their knowledge of evasion strategies of pathogens. Finally, students will be challenged to elaborate on major current concepts in the field of pathogen-host interaction using prion diseases as an example.

Course objectives

The student will be able to:
• explain the mechanisms at the basis of the evasion strategies employed by pathogens.
• design an experimental procedure for the investigation of the mechanisms underlying the evasion strategies of pathogens.
• identify current problems in research into pathogen host interactions and formulate questions regarding these problems.
• challenge current concepts of pathogen host interactions.

Mode of instruction

Lectures, self study assignments, workgroup meetings, State-of-the-Art lectures.

Assessment method

The final exam consists of five open questions and the score is the final mark for this block.

Reading list

• Module book Pathogen Host Interactions 2, Leiden, 2012.
• Primary literature (see dedicated black board site, module book)


All course information can be consulted on the dedicated Black Board site. Knowledge gained during this course (as well as during the Immunology course) is essential for the course “Infection and Immunity in Practice”.

Information for exchange students

This module is part of an English taught semester of the bachelor’s programme in Biomedical Sciences at Leiden University Medical Center. Combining biomedical modules with modules from other programmes in Leiden is difficult or impossible due to different scheduling schemes. Exchange students with sufficient relevant background knowledge in biology/biomedicine are therefore encouraged and advised to choose the entire module package indicated below. This semester starts in week 36 and finishes at the end of week 3 of the following calendar year.
• Immunology (BW), 8 EC
• Pathogen-Host Interactions part 2, 3 EC
• Infection and Immunity in Practice, 3 EC
• Physiology, Basic Concepts, 8 EC
• Physiology, Advanced Concepts, 3 EC
• Communication in Science for Exchange students, 1 EC