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Chemical and Genomic Insight to Host-Microbe Symbiotic Interactions

NOVA PhD course of 2.5 ECTS, organised by Henrik Hjarvard de Fine Licht and Michael Poulsen, University of Copenhagen.
Dates and location: 23-27 May 2016 in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Korn - hvete
Håkon Sparre
Course Description
Advances over the past years have provided a range of genomic and chemical tools applicable to research in host-symbiont interactions. 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 and who work with interactions between hosts and symbionts at the molecular level.

Symbioses 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.

Programme Outline
Each course day will have a specific theme.

  • Monday: introduction and lectures and workshops on symbiosis, ending with student presentations of their PhD projects.
  • Tuesday: genomics and metagenomics.
  • Wednesday: transcriptomics and proteomics approaches.
  • Thursday: signalling molecules and natural products.
  • Friday: student presentations on harvesting workshop results.

Learning Outcomes
Knowledge on:

  • The formation, maintenance and evolution of beneficial symbioses.
  • The importance of cross talk and signalling in symbioses.
  • Genomic and analytical tools that can be applied to answer questions in symbioses, 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 opportunities 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.

Pre-/Post-Campus Assignments
Background reading, preparation of questions for specific topics, preparation of short presentation of PhD thesis/topic, and preparation of own data sets to work on during the workshop.

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.

Evaluation Elements
The course will require active participation enforced through presentations by each student, which can readily be evaluated. Short presentations on the progress students have made in incorporating the topics covered to their own research questions will be required, so that students have to be actively engaged during the week to be able to put this together.

Pedagogical Approach
The course will combine traditional lectures, online tools, computer exercises, and student presentations to uphold diverse approaches that satisfy different learning modes. 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.

Estimated Workload

  • 15 hours seminar
  • 15 hours lecture
  • 15 hours exercises
  • 30 hours reading before the course, making presentations before and during the course

Prerequisite Knowledge
Course participants should be enrolled in a PhD with a strong focus on biology, biochemistry, agriculture or bioinformatics, and ideally work 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.

Admission for NOVA courses is handled by the course organiser/ the NOVA member institution organising the course. Please see the links in the margin for more information.

There is no course fee for NOVA and BOVA students. For non-NOVA and non-BOVA students, there is a course fee of EUR 400. 

Published 14. August 2015 - 14:51 - Updated 3. April 2018 - 15:13