Frontiers in Animal Health


About this course

Considering the fast growth of the aquaculture sector as well as the worldwide intensive livestock farming, it is important to guarantee the health and welfare of these farmed animals. These animals, even when kept under controlled farming conditions, are continuously exposed to a myriad of infectious agents, some of which can also be transmitted between animal species or to humans (zoonosis). Therefore, to prevent disease outbreaks under farming conditions, understanding the defence system of farmed animals and how we can stimulate it, is of utmost importance. Immunostimulation through e.g. feed aims at potentiating the early defence system of animals but generally relies on innate immune responses. Vaccination however, which relies on adaptive immune memory responses, is without doubts the most specific and effective disease prevention strategy currently available. Effective vaccines take into account not only the nature of the pathogen, but also the immune system of the host. But when it comes to farmed animals (fishes, birds, mammals), the variety among species can be extremely high. Therefore, it is only by being aware of the specific features of the immune system of fish and other farmed animals that we can design the best disease-prevention strategies tailored to the animal species. Yet, there are also many communalities to learn from.

Learning outcomes

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

  • Identify and recognize the organs, cells and molecules that play a major role in the immune defence of fish and selected major livestock species
  • Understand and explain the differences and communalities in immune reactions against relevant pathogens of fish and selected major livestock species
  • Exemplify the specifics of the immune system of fish and other farmed species
  • Gain hands-on practical experience with the analysis of immune responses to (fish) pathogens
  • Gain hands-on practical experience with vaccine design (e.g. nucleic acids-based vaccines, subunit vaccines) and understand the need to apply different routes of vaccination in different farm animals
  • Formulate research questions relevant to an internship or a thesis
  • Resolve research questions applicable to an internship or a thesis
  • Critically evaluate research papers and translate these into a comprehensive personalized review

Required prior knowledge

Assumed Knowledge:
Basic immunology (e.g. CBI20306 Cell Biology and Health or ADP20306 Immunology and Thermoregulation)

Link to more information

  • Credits
    ECTS 6
  • Level
  • Contact coordinator
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