BSc minor Food, Intestinal Homeostasis and Disease (WUFHD)

The relationship between gut, nutrition and resilience to infection and therefore general health is one of the major focus points of Wageningen University and Research Centre.

Continue to an overview of the courses in this minor

The topic has tremendous societal as well as economic impact. Maintenance of health and prevention of infectious disease are critically dependent on a proper functioning of the immune system in relation to intestinal homeostasis. Therefore, when this homeostasis is compromised by the presence of infectious organisms, toxic compounds, bacterial dysbiosis, stress-related conditions, and exposure to particular dietary components, the health status of the individual is at risk. Often this condition will not directly result in overt clinical disease but in development of a chronic low-grade, sub clinical inflammation. This induction of chronic inflammation (often triggered by a particular infection) is the start of the development of many chronic diseases in humans and animals, like cardiovascular disease, obesitas, persistent infectious disease, allergy, and thereby lead to loss of quality of life, reproduction and survival.

This BSc minor is focussed on a better comprehension of the interplay between host (gut) immunity, infectious organisms, microbiota and nutrition to maintain intestinal homeostasis and prevent chronic inflammatory conditions. In addition, many plant-derived, food components have the ability to correct such detrimental conditions This integrated knowledge provides better understanding of how diseases develop and can, possibly, be prevented or even cured by dietary intervention strategies. This BSc minor is particularly interesting for students who take an interest in the interplay between host immunity, intestinal microbiota and how diet and nutrition can be utilised to balance intestinal homeostasis in humans and animals. This BSc minor also has a 1 ects integration course that should be followed simultaneously and which integrates the concepts provided by the 4 courses into a blended understanding of the interplay between and immune health.  

Learning Outcomes

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

  • explain gut structure, microbiota composition, systemic and mucosal (intestinal) immunity and the interactions be­ tween these parameters;
  • summarize methods to influence these interactions via targeted diet and nutrition;
  • explain the interplay between exposure to infectious organisms, (immune) defence, and development of inflammation and clinical disease;
  • select biomarkers reflecting gastrointestinal health which can be used to predict the outcome of dietary interventions of humans and animals.

Target group

This minor is interesting for WU-students of the BSc programmes:

  • BBI-A Biology Cell and Molecular Biology
  • BBI-B Biology Organismal and Developmental Biology
  • BBI-D Biology Ecology and Biodiversity
  • BBT Biotechnology
  • BDW Animal Sciences
  • BLT Food Technology
  • BML Molecular life sciences
  • BPW PLant Sciences
  • BVG Nutrition and Health (BVG students should contact the minor coordinator for an alternative for HNE-25306)

This minor assumes knowledge as provided in the course ‘Cell Biology and Health’ (CBI 20306) for most study programme or ‘Immunology and Thermoregulation’(ADP 20306) for BDW.

Also for non-WU students of similar BSc programmes.

Overlapping courses or content with

  • BBI-C Biology Human and Animal Health Biology




First semester (period 1, 2 and 3)

Programme or thematic

Thematic minor