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The master track “Infection and Immunity” has been designed to integrate the advanced knowledge in two interlinked disciplines. Immunology is the science that investigates how complex multicellular organisms (mostly mammals) defend themselves against infectious diseases. Immunologists investigate biological systems at all levels of integration: molecular, (sub)cellular, tissue, organism and society. The experimental tools address the molecular, structural and cell biological level, incorporating state of the art techniques such as microarrays, deep sequencing, live imaging and multicolour fluorescent flow cytometry.

Medical Microbiology studies the pathogenesis, epidemiology, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of pathogens and infections from the molecular to the global health level. Though the immune system protects against infection, microbes employ a variety of strategies to escape immune responses. Another important topic that will be addressed is the emergence of antimicrobial resistance.

Studying Infection and Immunity at the University of Amsterdam
The track Infection and Immunity is a collaborative effort of the University of Amsterdam (UvA), the Academic Medical Centre (AMC) and Sanquin. This master track is designed to educate you towards becoming a practicing scientist, and is only offered as Research (R-) Variant.

Programme Outline

The theoretical background of the programme will provide you with a basic cell biological understanding and state of the art knowledge in Immunology and Medical Microbiology through two dedicated courses. The thesis can be organised on an individual basis and can start at any time in the track.

You gain practical experience by performing at least two research projects in laboratories active in Immunology and/or Medical Microbiology. During these projects you become an integral member of the research group. It is mandatory to carry out one of the traineeships at the AMC or Sanquin (or in specific cases NKI). The other research project(s) may be carried out at one of the participating institutes or at universities/research institutes in The Netherlands or abroad.

Core Courses

 The first course is Molecular Biology of the Cell. This basic theoretical course that is the same for all Master tracks in the Medical Biology cluster will recap the molecular basis of cell function including proteins, membranes, DNA structure, cell metabolism, protein synthesis and cellular signalling.

In the course Advanced Immunology experts in the fields will teach the most important aspects of the immune system. This ranges from:

  • The innate immune system which forms the first line of defence by sensing danger and invasion of the body by pathogens.
  • The link from the innate to the adaptive immune system, which is capable of mounting specific responses and providing us with immunological memory.
  • The functions of T and B lymphocytes of the adaptive immune system
  • The inherent dangers of the immune systems that may lead to pathology and disease

The course Advanced Medical Microbiology will provide you with detailed insight in epidemiology, pathogenesis, prevention and treatment of important infectious diseases. Themes include:

  • Bacterial, viral and parasitic infections and immune escape strategies.
  • Host response-prevention-treatment
  • Global Health aspects of infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance
  • Contemporary issues and novel developments in de field of Medical Microbiology

Is Infection and Immunity the track for me?

The programme is looking for students who:

  • have successfully attended bachelor courses in Immunology and Medical Biology, or equivalent training, to be judged by the course coordinators.
  • are interested in studying molecular processes in cells, the way that cells in complex organisms cooperate to defend themselves against infectious microbes and tumour cells, vaccine development, evolutionary processes
  • want to understand the basis of diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, asthma and AIDS
  • enjoy doing laboratorial experiments in a fundamental research lab or in a (pre)clinical setting,
  • are interested in patient-oriented research and/or in vivo-oriented research involving animal models and
  • have a curiosity about biological systems in the world.

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