Federation of European Biochemical Societies

FEBS Practical Course

Prof. Ilse D. Jacobsen, Prof. Bernhard Hube, Prof. Patrick Van Dijck




State-of-the-art infection models to study molecular mechanisms of human fungal infections

In Europe - unlike in the USA - there have been very few practical courses on human fungal pathogens. As there are many laboratories in Europe working on these fungal pathogens, it is important that we can provide a platform for training of the students working in these labs. In our course, we will not only focus on molecular biology, but we will also address host-pathogen interactions by teaching state-of-the-art infection models and techniques to assess the immunological response of the host. These studies are essential for the understanding of the role that the immune system plays in both the prevention and development of fungal infections. Throughout this course, the participants will learn to use different models of host-fungus interaction both in vitro and in vivo.

In addition, different experts in the field will give lectures to amend the subject with additional scientific aspects that cannot be covered in the course, but are related to the topic. These renowned scientists will stay for a few days at the course so there is plenty of time to interact with them. We hope that this will result in future collaborations between the participants and these top scientists.

This course would not be possible without the strong support from FEBS. FEBS not only partially funds the course, but they also provide a number of grants (Youth Travel Funds, YTF) for participants that are member of a national FEBS Constituent Society. All participants which do not receive a YTF grant will need to cover travel and registration fee from other sources. Applications to other travel grants is therefore highly recommended.

The course is mainly open to PhD students and Postdocs, but group leaders who want to incorporate some of the techniques in their personal research are also welcome to apply.
Application deadline: October 15, 2015

State-of-the-Art Infection Models

Infection models are essential tools in infection biology. They are necessary to study pathogenesis, for the identification of fungal factors contributing to virulence and for the determination of risk factors that affect host susceptibility. Furthermore, the development of novel diagnostic and therapeutic strategies would not be possible without infection models, including laboratory animals.

Therefore, the aim of this course is to provide hands-on training for different infection models that are used to study host-fungus interaction both in vitro and in vivo. The training includes state-of-the-art downstream analyses that provide molecular information on the infection process as well as aspects of the immunological response.

Hands-on training will be performed in groups of five, supervised by at least one tutor, and additional assistants whenever necessary. The experiments are designed to cover the following areas:

  1. In vitro infection models, using cell culture
  2. Interaction with immune cells in vitro, using primary immune cells and cell culture
  3. murine infection models, including in vivo imaging
  4.  downstream analyses such as pathology and histology in murine models, determination of immune responses in in vivo experiments, and transcription analysis
  5. alternative complex infection models.

For educational purposes, downstream analyses (e.g. analysis of immune responses) will be performed using samples obtained in other experiments. This will allow to analyze the infection models in more detail and from different perspectives. We will use fungal strains having different levels of virulence to obtain results which then can be discussed and interpreted, to deepen the analytical part of the course.

In addition to the hands-on experiments, lectures given by experts in the field will not only provide state-of-the-art scientific background for the experiments, but also cover further scientific aspects of host-fungal interactions which cannot be covered in the practical part of the course. Joint lunch and coffee breaks as well as social evenings will provide ample opportunities for informal exchange and discussions between participants and lecturers.

Please visit http://www.febs-infection-models.org/