Commensal and Pathogen Host-Microbe Interactions in the Intestine


About this course

The course aims to teach students the concepts involved in research on host microbe interactions rather than a detailed technological training in the field, which may be taught in follow-up MSc-thesis studies.
The intestinal tract is colonized with a highly diverse and dense microbial population, and intestinal host microbe interactions play a prominent role in host-health and disease. Over the past years this field has expanded dramatically, and starts to decipher the molecular basis of these interactions and their importance in the determination of specific aspects of the host’s physiology, including metabolism, immunity, and behaviour. It is the aim of the course on ‘commensal and pathobiont host-microbe interactions in the intestine’ to understand the model systems and technological approaches applied in this field.
The model systems, including several (germ-free) animal and human volunteer models, and their use is explained in the lecture series. The technologies presented in the lectures encompass both the holistic, ‘omics based approaches as well as the mechanistic, cell-based approaches that employ molecular markers and reporters in combination with imaging. The computer practical employs public and in house datasets and software modules to analyse them, aiming for hands-on experience in data analysis and extraction of biological understanding. During the case studies small groups of students work on a provided specific health and disease question, analyse the state-of-the-art (literature and public information sources), and present their findings in a plenary session at the end of the course.

Learning outcomes

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:

  • Explain the differences in animal model systems employed in host-microbe interaction research
  • Select the appropriate model systems to investigate specific questions on molecular interactions between the host and the intestinal microbiota
  • Apply data-mining approaches to decipher the mechanisms of host-microbe and host-pathogen interactions
  • Select the appropriate technological approaches to investigate host microbe interactions in research models
  • Judge the reliability of results obtained in experiments in the field of host-microbe interactions
  • Evaluate and criticize the scientific evidence underlying the mechanisms of molecular cross-talk between intestinal microbes, mucosal pathogens/pathobionts and the host
  • Independently evaluate scientific papers in this field
  • Design concise research proposals to address specific questions in this scientific area

Required prior knowledge

Assumed Knowledge:
Cell Biology, Human and animal physiology, Practical Biological Chemistry.

Link to more information

If anything remains unclear, please check the FAQ of Wageningen University.


  • Start date

    10 March 2025

    • Ends
      2 May 2025
    • Term *
      Period 5
    • Location
    • Instruction language
    • Register between
      1 Jun, 00:00 - 9 Feb 2025
These offerings are valid for students of Utrecht University