The Animal Health and Immunology (AHI) discussion group is an initiative of PhD students of the Wageningen Institute of Animal Sciences (WIAS) graduate school.
Recent advances in different fields of animal sciences (e.g. nutrition, physiology, and behaviour) suggest that further improvements of animal welfare and performance require an optimal health. Consequently, future animal research requires holistic and transversal approaches, encompassing traits related to immunology, microbiology, and physiology. This paradigm shift is exemplified by the number of PhD thesis that are co-supervised by different chair groups within WIAS. This novel situation challenges young researchers, who have been trained to work on specific aspects of animal biology, to combine different expertise. The graduate school offers them the possibility to gain additional knowledge through a tailor-made study program. In complement to this offer, the AHI discussion enables young researchers to join a network of colleagues with different backgrounds, and a common drive for health and immunology.
The group is currently animated by Tom Berghof and Mirelle Geervliet. During monthly group meetings ongoing research, experimental designs, and recent papers are being discussed. Besides these meetings, the group organizes Master Classes given by expert(s) of the field. Such events are also open to staff members, other PhD candidates, and others who are interested.
Example of previous master classes:
· Trained immunity through epigenetics by Prof. Bas Zwaan (Laboratory of Genetics, WUR) and Prof. Mihai Netea (Laboratory of Experimental Internal Medicine, Radboud University)
· Gut Microbiota: Quantification and implications for host heal by Prof. Hauke Smidt (Molecular Ecology, WUR) and Michiel Kleerebezem (Host-Microbe Interactomics, WUR)
· Do’s and don’ts in animal health experiments: Part 2. Flow cytometry and qPCR by Olaf Perdijk (Cell Biology & Immunology, WUR) and Jurgen van Baal (Animal Nutrition, WUR)
· Do’s and don’ts in animal health experiments: Part 1. Nutrition and ELISAs by Walter Gerrtis (Animal Nutrition, WUR) and Huub Savelkoul (Cell Biology and Immunology, WUR)