Article banner region

Biological Control: Microbial Interactions for Improved Plant Health

  • Photo: 

NOVA PhD course of 4 ECTS, offered by Professor Dan Funck Jensen, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.
Course dates and location: 29 May - 3 Jun. 2017 in Uppland, Sweden.

Course Description
This is the first course in the NOVA PhD course series "Plant Pathology with a Nordic Dimension", which is scheduled for 2017-2020. The series consist of four courses, each within different disciplines in plant pathology.

  • 2017: Biological Control: Microbial Interactions for Improved Plant Health
    Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU)
    Two themes will be addressed a) inoculation biocontrol where biocontrol microbes are applied to the plant crop and b) conservation biocontrol where interactions and function of indigenous microbial communities in the plant crop suppress diseases.
  • 2018: Biotrophy in Plant Pathogens - from Recognition to Ecology
    Aarhus University, Science and Technology (AU-ST)
    Focus is on plant interactions with biotrophic pathogens aiming at understanding plant defence reactions, pathogen effector biology and the ecology of biotrophs.
  • 2019: Epidemiology and Populations Genetics
    Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU)
    Epidemiology including local dissemination and distance spread of pathogens. Include the role of population genetics and the race concept in relation to host plant resistance.
  • 2020: Secondary Metabolites in Plant Resistance and Pathogen Virulence
    University of Helsinki, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry (HU-AF)
    Metabolites play an important role for virulence of many pathogens and in plants defence. This will be addressed in different pathosystems.

Each course includes definitions, terms, concepts and theories within the plant pathology disciplines reflected in the course title. Two main themes will be the core of each course schedule. Cases with special relevance for the Nordic zone will have highest priority. Understanding plant pathogen interactions and biocontrol at the molecular level will be prioritised embracing genomics, transcriptome and gene expression studies. Importance of cell wall degrading enzymes, effector molecules and secondary metabolites will be addressed. Discussions of biocontrol, epidemiology, population dynamics and plant resistance as part of integrated pest management will be part of each course. Course 1 will also include theory of microbial ecology, microbial community interactions and their trait effects as they relate to conservation biocontrol.

Pre-/Post-Campus Assignments
A journal club will be running weekly for 3 months discussing papers suggested by teachers. Students prepare either a poster or an oral presentation.

Learning Outcomes
The student will:

  • obtain knowledge of definitions, theories and concepts within the pathology disciplines addressed in the course series
  • obtain basic skills of genomics/bioinformatics methods used in advanced plant pathology and knowledge about strategies for integrated pest management (IPM)
  • obtain specific competences in
    • course 1: inoculation biocontrol and conservation biocontrol embracing suppressiveness due to interacting microbial communities and effects of crop management
    • course 2: biotrophic pathogen ecology and host interactions, including effector biology and plant defence
    • course 3: epidemiology, population genetics and race development
    • course 4: the role of metabolites in microbial- and pathogen host interactions. Skills in presenting a scientific subjects is another learning outcome of the courses

Evaluation Elements
Evaluation will be based on participation in the journal club and student presentations at the course. Evaluation will also include active participation in group discussions, activity at lectures and at other discussion sessions at the course.

Pedagogical Approach
Several forms of teaching are used including lectures, literature discussion sessions and computer exercises. The students acquire facts by reading relevant literature during the journal club and through lectures. These facts are then processed during computer exercises and during discussion sessions. Discussion sessions are opportunities for students with different backgrounds to learn from each other. All students will get the opportunity for an oral presentation of a poster with feedback or an oral presentation at the lecture sessions.

Estimated Workload

  • Journal Club for preparing before the course 10 weeks each with an estimated work load of 5 hours = 50 (include reading suggested papers and discussing the papers with other students and local teachers - discussions via internet will organized for students not localized close to other students.
  • Preparing posters and oral presentations before the course 30 hours.
  • Work load at the 5 day course 40 hours: will be a mix of lectures, group discussions, students' presentation of own posters and students' oral presentations, plus an excursion. Programs will also be organized as evening sessions: plenum and group discussions.
  • Total 120 hours

Prerequisite Knowledge
A prerequisite is that the students have an MSc within natural sciences. MSc students can occasionally be accepted to attend.

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.

To apply for the course, please send an email to the course responsible. It is not necessary to apply for the whole course series, only for the 2017 course.

Apply here

Published 19. December 2016 - 13:36 - Updated 29. May 2017 - 17:15