nl en

Pathogeen - gastheerinteracties I



This course focuses on general characteristics of infectious agents and will show how these agents interact with their hosts utilising highly specialised molecules. Infectious diseases are the result of complex interactions between an (replicating) infectious agent, such as a virus, bacterium, fungus, parasite, or even a protein (prion), and the host, e.g. man. Insight into the nature of pathogen-host interactions on the molecular and cellular level is essential for 1) the identification of targets for new drugs and vaccine-based treatments of infections and 2) the design of scientific experiments.
The programme includes sections on viruses, bacteria, and parasites. A section may include a patient demonstration. Each section will focus on examples from one class of pathogens. The sections start with an introductory lecture. Thereafter students focus on several selfstudy assignments that will give the students insight into this class of pathogens. The assignments will be discussed and elaborated upon in a work group. In addition, a sample exam question will be discussed during the workgroup in order to prepare the students for the exam. As part of line education the students will be trained in extracting information from scientific papers and State of the Art lectures regarding pathogen host interactions, such as emerging viruses, antibiotic resistance and fungal infections.

Course objectives

The student will be able:

  • to explain the mechanisms underlying transmission and epidemiology of infectious diseases.

  • to relate genome structure and function to the life cycle of pathogens.

  • to design an experimental identification procedure for relevant molecules involved in the interaction between pathogens and hosts (cells).

  • to identify appropriate stages for the development of drugs and vaccines against pathogens.

  • to exploit current knowledge of the genetics of pathogens to understand pathogen-host interactions.

  • to extract essential information from scientific papers and State of the Art lectures in pathogen host interactions.

Mode of instruction

Lectures, self study assignments, work group meetings, patient demonstrations, and State-of-the-Art lectures.

Assessment method

The exam consists of 5 open questions. Exam questions are in English (answers may be given in Dutch or English). The final mark is based on the results of the examination and student’s summaries of the State-of-the-Art lectures.

Reading List

  • Module book. Pathogen Host Interactions 1, Leiden, 2012.

  • Medical Microbiology. Sixth edition by Murray PR, Rosenthal KS and Pfaller MA.Elseviers-Mosby, 2009.


All course information can be consulted on the dedicated Blackboard site.