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Fish Diseases
Provider: Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

Activity no.: 3143-24-00-00There are 14 available seats 
Enrollment deadline: 24/06/2024
Date and time12.08.2024, at: 09:00 - 23.08.2024, at: 17:00
Regular seats15
Course fee22,560.00 kr.
LecturersKurt Buchmann
ECTS credits11.20
Contact personKurt Buchmann    E-mail address: kub@sund.ku.dk
Enrolment Handling/Course OrganiserPhD administration     E-mail address: phdkursus@sund.ku.dk

Aim and content

This course is free of charge for PhD students at Danish universities (except Copenhagen Business School), and for PhD Students from NorDoc member faculties. All other participants must pay the course fee.

Anyone can apply for the course, but if you are not a PhD student at a Danish university, you will be placed on the waiting list until enrollment deadline. This also applies to PhD students from NorDoc member faculties. After the enrollment deadline, available seats will be allocated to applicants on the waiting list.

Learning objectives

A student who has met the objectives of the course will be able to:

• Understand basic principles of disease development in fish
• Define the function of anatomical structures in fish
• Describe the biology of viral, bacterial and parasitic pathogens in fish
• Define basic principles in fish immunology
• Evaluate the effects of pathogens, environment and fish immunity on fish health and welfare

• Perform a full autopsy of a fish
• Sample and process organs and tissues for diagnostic purposes
• Identify pathogens based on basic diagnostic tests
• Conduct a histopathological examination of fish tissues
• Perform a molecular identification of fish pathogens (PCR, qPCR)
• Assess basic immunological test results

• Diagnose parasitic, bacterial and viral diseases of fish
• Critical analyses of factors eliciting diseases in fish
• Assess vaccination strategies for disease control
• Present disease control strategies for wild and cultured fish
• Solve complex fish health problems in team work context


The course has a duration of two weeks. It employs a problem based approach. Following a basic introduction to basic definitions and concepts related to fish biology, anatomy, genetics, nutrition and fish immunology, the students will focus on infections with parasitic, bacterial and viral pathogens in fish. The implications of fish disease in socio-economic development will be treated as well as the impact on environment and ecosystems. The students will gain practical laboratory experience with regard to fish handling and examination. The students will be able to recover samples from diseased fish, perform diagnostic tests by application of molecular techniques, microscopy and prepare samples for histology and immunological investigations. The students will work in teams, analysing and solving specific health problems in fish.

The proportion of theory and practical exercises is 50:50. The theoretical part includes lectures, seminars, group discussions and student presentations concerning specific fish disease situations. The practical part comprises exercises including handling of fish, euthanasia, autopsy of fish, sampling of organs, preparing slides for microscopical diagnosis, preparation of samples for histology, extraction of DNA and performing PCR, qPCR and sequence analyses. The student will work in teams elucidating a specific problem and by use of the acquired skills they will be able to present a diagnosis and suggest one or more control strategies to solve the problem. At the end of the course the students will present a written report and give an oral presentation of their work.


The course is open for all but PhD student are prioritized. Basic knowledge on animal anatomy and physiology is an advantage.

Relevance to graduate programmes

The course is relevant to PhD students from the following graduate programmes at the Graduate School of Health and Medical Sciences, UCPH:

Immunology and Infectious Diseases

In Vivo Pharmacology and Experimental Animals

Public Health and Epidemiology




Lectures, seminars, field work (sampling), exercises, group work, poster presentations, oral presentations

Course director

Kurt Buchmann, professor, Laboratory of aquatic Pathobiology, Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, kub@sund.ku.dk


Kurt Buchmann, Professor

Per Walter Kania, Associate professor

Kaan Kumas, research assistant

Carlota Marola Fernadez Gonzales, research assistant

Henrik Carl, Researcher, Natural History Museum of Denmark

Rasmus Nielsen, Associate professor, Department of Food and Resource Economics, University of Copenhagen


12 - 23 August 2024

Course location

Frederiksberg Campus, Stigbøjlen 7, Building 1-35, Frederiksberg C, Denmark


Please register before 24 June 2024

Expected frequency

Once a year in the month of August

Seats to PhD students from other Danish universities will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis and according to the applicable rules. Applications from other participants will be considered after the last day of enrolment.

Note: All applicants are asked to submit invoice details in case of no-show, late cancellation or obligation to pay the course fee (typically non-PhD students). If you are a PhD student, your participation in the course must be in agreement with your principal supervisor.

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