- The student is able to gain a state-of-the art understanding and a historical perspective of the mechanisms responsible for host defense against micro-organisms <li<>The student understands the major components of both innate as well as the adaptive immunity
- The student can distinguish the immune responses to the major classes of pathogenic micro-organisms: bacteria, fungi and viruses
- The student is able to identify areas in which our understanding of the host defense is incomplete
- The student will gain knowledge of immune deficiencies that result in severe microbial infections, e.g. fungal infections
Host defense against pathogenic micro-organisms is excerted by a complex system of cellular and humoral mechanisms that forms the immune system. The immune response has been divided in two major components: the innate immune response that is responsible for the initial inflammatory reactions during early infections, and the specific adaptive immunity that develops thereafter and is directed agianst a certain pathogen through antibodies and specific T-cells.
In the recent years it has become clear that the innate immune system not only specifically reconizes vaious classes of micro-organisms, but also initiates and modulates the subsequent adaptive immune responses. The invading micro-organisms are seen by the host by specific recognition receptors (PRR) that sense conserved chemical signatures of the micro-organisms called pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs).
Activation of these PRR results in phagocytosis and killing of the micro-organisms and humoral defence mechanisms. The coordination of these responses is mediated by a complex network of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines.
In this course the student will learn the principles of host-microbe interactions and how micro-organisms are able to escape from the host defense system. In addition, several infectious diseases will be discussed.