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Chemical and Genomic Insight to Parasitic and Mutualistic Host-Microbe Interactions
Provider: Department of Biology

Activity no.: 5152-18-01-31 
Enrollment deadline: 20/04/2018
PlaceSection for Ecology and Evolution, Kollokvierum 1
Building 3, 1st floor, Universitetsparken 15, 2100 Copenhagen East
Date and time13.05.2018, at: 09:00 - 18.05.2018, at: 21:00
Regular seats24
ECTS credits4.50
Contact personMichael Poulsen    E-mail address: mpoulsen@bio.ku.dk
Enrolment Handling/Course OrganiserMichael Poulsen    E-mail address: mpoulsen@bio.ku.dk
Teaching languageEnglish
Exam formCourse participation
Exam formAndet/Other
Criteria for exam assessmentThe course will require active participation enforced through presentations by each student. Short presentations on the progress students have made in incorporating the topics covered to their own research questions will be required, so students have to be actively engaged during the week to be able to put this together.
Course workload
Course workload categoryHours
Preparation / Self-Study15.00


Advances over the past years have provided a range of genomic and chemical tools applicable to research in host-microbe interactions ranging from mutualistic to parasitic. This course will introduce and critically address these tools with the primary objective of providing PhD students with extensive knowledge of the applicability of tools to their own work. The course mainly addresses PhD students early in their PhD who work with interactions between hosts and microbes at the molecular level.

Parasites and mutualists are omnipresent and play major roles in the ecology and evolution of the organisms involved. The course will provide an overview of the diversity of symbiotic systems with particular focus on examples, where genomics and chemical tools have been employed to shed new light on interactions. Students will be introduced to applicable methodologies in microbial interaction research.

The course will among other things include lectures and workshops on:

  • Host and microbe biology
  • Genomics and metagenomics
  • Transcriptomics and proteomics
  • Signalling molecules, natural products and metabolomics

There will also be presentations introducing PhD projects and how the tools and techniques examined during the workshops could potentially be incorporated.

Learning outcome
Knowledge on:
-The formation, maintenance and evolution of beneficial symbioses.
-The importance of cross talk and signalling in beneficial and antagonistic host-symbiont interactions.
-Genomic and analytical tools that can be applied to answer questions in host-microbe interactions, and how these can be used in an interdisciplinary way.

Skills to:
-Identify tools to apply to their own (and peers) research.
-Find literature and tools in symbioses research.
-Use online tools to analyse (meta)genomes.
-Get an overview about possible new aspects and solutions to their PhD projects.
-Get to know new collaboration partners.

Competences to:
-Assess the applicability and limitations of genomic and analytical tools.
-Critically evaluate published work, other's work and their own work.
-Develop new ideas for projects of their own and of peers.

Background reading will be provided at least three weeks before the course. In addition to reading background material, students are required to prepare questions for specific topics, a short presentation of their PhD thesis/topic, and to bring their own data sets to potentially work on during the workshop component of the course.

Target group
Course participants should be enrolled in a PhD with a strong focus on biology, biochemistry, agriculture or bioinformatics. They should ideally be working with a question related to host-symbiont interactions in their own research, but the course will also be relevant for students considering host-symbiont research.

Teaching and learning methods
The course will combine diverse approaches that satisfy different modes of learning, including traditional lectures, online tools, computer exercises, and student presentations. All components will require active participation, as this is expected to facilitate deeper learning. To maximize teaching styles, student tasks will also be diverse, as they will work individually and in groups, train presentation skills, and be stimulated to critical thinking by sparring ideas.

Guest lecturer 1
Assistant Professor Christine Beemelmanns
Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology – Hans Knöll Institute (HKI), Germany

Guest lecturer 2
Professor Andreas Schramm
Department of Bioscience – Microbiology, Aarhus University, Denmark

Guest lecturer 3
Assistant Professor Thomas Tørring
Department of Engineering - Biological and Chemical Engineering, Aarhus University, Denmark

Teacher 1 from UCPH-SCIENCE
Associated Professor Michael Thomas-Poulsen
E-mail * mpoulsen@bio.ku.dk

Teacher 2 from UCPH-SCIENCE
Assistant Professor Henrik de Fine Licht
E-mail: hhdefinelicht@plen.ku.dk

Teacher 3 from UCPH-SCIENCE
Associated Professor David R. Nash
E-mail: drnash@bio.ku.dk

An online evaluation form will be provided to students to evaluate the course outcome, and the students will be provided with contacts information for each other and teachers to immediately expand their international research network.

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