Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

Gut Biology and Health (2019)

ECTS credits:

Course parameters:
Language: English
Level of course: PhD course
Time of year: August 2019
No. of contact hours/hours in total incl. preparation, reporting, etc.: 80h/128h
Capacity limit: 20 participants

Objectives of the course:
The aim of the course is to introduce the students to gastrointestinal ecology (nutrition, immunology, microbiology, and host-pathogen interaction) and its influence on health and disease in animals, in short ”Gut Biology and Health”.

Learning outcomes and competences:
After finalizing the course, the students should be able to:

  • Understand and use fundamental terms and notions related to the disciplines nutrition, immunology and microbiology in relation to gut biology and health.
  • Perform basic sampling and handling of gastrointestinal material (tissue and digests) from pigs and potentially other monogastric animals.
  • Perform selected laboratory analyses in classical microbiology, molecular biology and immunology.
  • Analyse, evaluate and discuss the obtained data, and put the obtained results into an applied context focusing on gastrointestinal health and disease (e.g. dysbiosis) of animals.

Compulsory programme:
Active participation in the residential course Monday-Friday (for two weeks) incl. oral presentation of own project. A final written report is required for completion of the course.

Course contents:
The course will be a 10 days intensive workshop, covering experimental exercises (including a pig trial) and a series (~15) of seminars/lectures related to aspects of gut biology and health of farm animals. The course aims at introducing the participants to relevant disciplines (i.e. immunology, nutrition and microbiology), as well as state-of-the-art analytical methods (e.g. molecular techniques, flow cytometry and in vitro cell cultures).

The experimental part includes a number of exercises covering:

Techniques for sampling and handling of gut samples. A range of laboratory analyses like: a) isolation and growth of gut bacteria; b) physiological and molecular characterization of selected gut bacteria; c) analysis of microbial metabolites (short-chain fatty acids, gaseous compounds); d) genotypic characterization of the gut microbiota; e) in vitro systems for studying gut biology; f) isolation and characterization of immune cells (including phenotyping by flow cytometry); g) quantification of immunoglobulins by ELISA.

Handling and statistical treatment of the obtained data will be performed throughout the course period and in defined sessions supervised by the organizers, in order for the students to prepare written reports.

Introduction, teaching and scientific seminars will be given by the organizers as well as by a number of national (DK) and international lecturers. The seminars will be given in morning and afternoon sessions fitting into the practical work and covering topics like: a) gut microbiology; b) gut immunology; c) livestock nutrition (including early life) and health; d) feeding strategies; e) alternatives to in-feed antibiotic growth promoters (AGP); f) aspects of bacterial antibiotic resistance; g) animals as models for human studies; e) analytical tools for studying gut microbiology and immunology.

Participants are expected to deliver 128 working hours divided between:

  • Pre-course preparation: literature, own presentation (24h).
  • Residential course: 10 days in August 2018, including lectures, exercises participant presentations and group work (80h).
  • Written report after finalizing residential course (24h)

Before arrival at the venue, the participating students are expected to have made themselves familiar with a number of papers, textbook chapters and reviews focusing on gut biology and health; the organizers will provide a literature list. The participants should further prepare a short presentation (max. 10 min) of their own field of work and put it into the frame of the course syllabus. The student oral presentations will be given at evening sessions during the course.

At the residential course, the students will sample and process data for writing a report on the practical exercises and the involved techniques. The report should be submitted for evaluation no longer than 4 weeks after the end of the residential course. The exact curriculum will be adjusted from year to year, based on new publications as well as on suggestions from the invited lecturers.

Scientific and social event: A one-day excursion.

This course targets PhD students and postdocs within veterinary, agricultural and health sciences working with scientific questions related to gut biology and health.

Name of lecturers:

Course organizers

  • Ole Højberg, Senior Scientist, Dept. Animal Science, AU-Foulum, Aarhus University
    e-mail: ole.hojberg@anis.au.dk 
  • Tina Dalgaard, Senior Scientist, Dept. Animal Science, AU-Foulum, Aarhus University
    e-mail: tina.dalgaard@anis.au.dk 
  • Charlotte Lauridsen, Professor and Head of the Immunology and Microbiology Research Section, Dept. Animal Science, AU-Foulum, Aarhus University
    e-mail: charlotte.lauridsen@anis.au.dk 

External key lecturer list (tentative)

  • Prof Mick Baily, Bristol University, Bristol, United Kingdom
  • Prof Chris Stokes, Bristol University, Bristol, United Kingdom
  • Dr Jordi Estelle, INRA, Jouy-en-Josas, France
  • Ass Prof Paolo Trevisi, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
  • Prof Hauke Smidt, Wageningen Agricultural University, Wageningen, The Netherlands

Type of course/teaching methods:
See “Course contents” above.

Original literature in the form of reviews and primary papers from international journals and textbooks. A literature list will be made available well in advance of the course.

Course homepage:

Course assessment:
Participation in residential course as well as an accepted written report.

The course is provided by the Immunology and Microbiology Research Section, Department of Animal Science, Aarhus University, in collaboration with Graduate School of Science and Technology (GSST) at Aarhus University.

Special comments:
Course participants have to pay direct costs for their own travel and accommodation. Rooms will be pre-booked by the organizers at a hostel in the city of Viborg, approx. 15 km from the institute (run by public busses).

Course participants from non-DK universities will be charged a fee to cover lab consumables etc. (to be specified).

The course will be announced in the network of the recently finalized EU Cost Action FA1401 “PiGutNet” (www.pigutnet.eu); for each of the two last versions of the PhD course, 14 out of 20 students came from “PiGutNet” partners.

12-23 August 2019

The residential course will be held at AU-Foulum, Department of Animal Science, Aarhus University, Blichers Allé 20, DK-8830 Tjele, Denmark.

Registration is open from 1 February to 1 June 2019 via e-mail to mette.gravesmadsen@anis.au.dk. Include a brief application with title and start year of PhD project, scientific keywords, proposed title of participant presentation, address and contact information.

All applicants will receive information regarding participation no later than 1 July 2019.

18796 / i43