BSc minor Biology of Infectious Diseases (WUBID)

This BSc minor focuses on the biology of infectious diseases. Human and animal health are under a constant threat of infectious diseases caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi, nematodes and many eukaryotic endoparasites that are transmitted by a range of vectors, usually insects and mites, or contaminated food.

Continue to an overview of the courses in this minor

The diseases comprise (bird) flu, zika, bluetongue, BSE, Candidiasis, Campylobacteriosis, malaria, listeriosis, Lyme disease, Salmonellosis, swine fever, West Nile virus, Zika, Yersinia, and many others. Many of these infectious diseases have a large impact on society and feature in the media headlines. Although excellent examples exist of effective control of infectious diseases, new diseases arise due to human activities as well as development of resistance to antibiotics and antimycotics. Also climate change, international travel and commerce may give rise to diseases in countries where these diseases do not exist currently. Furthermore, changes in nature management may lead to alterations in the distribution and abundance of vectors such as ticks. Exotic food and food contamination with pathogenic microbes can give rise to new diseases and allergies. A better understanding of the virulence mechanisms of pathogens, pathogenesis and epidemiology is important to the development of new strategies for prevention and treatment of infectious diseases.

Learning Outcomes

After successful completion of this minor students are expected to be able to:

  • understand the molecular biology, physiology and ecology of representative pathogens in interactions with their host and vectors;
  • understand the strategies of pathogens to exploit their hosts and of hosts to defend themselves against their pathogens and how this information can be used to develop management tools to combat infectious diseases or their vectors;
  • understand the epidemiological aspects of infectious diseases;
  • understand the financial impact of infectious diseases at different levels (farm, sector, nation);
  • integrate scientific information from different disciplines such as nematology, entomology, virology, phytopathology, epidemiology and economics in the context of infectious diseases of humans and animals;
  • apply experimental approaches towards investigating the biology of infectious diseases;
  • recognize state-of-the-art scientific advances in the biology of infectious diseases of humans and animals.

Target group

This minor is interesting for all BSc students with VWO-level Biology. WU BSc Biology-major C  students should contact the minor coordinator for an alternative for NEM-20806

    Assumed knowledge

    Biology at VWO-level. Contact the minor coordinator before taking this minor.

    Overlapping courses or content with

    BDW Animal Sciences and BBI biology major C


    English, except for the restricted optional course QVE-20306 Veterinary Epidemiology and Economics that is in Dutch.


    First semester (period 1, 2 and 3)

    Programme or Thematic

    Thematic minor