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 group enables young researchers to join a network of PhD colleagues with different backgrounds, and a common drive for health and immunology. During the WIAS Science Day 2017 The AHIDG received the Education prize for the best WIAS PhD course of the past year.
The group is currently animated by Mirelle Geervliet and Anouschka Middelkoop.
- Journal clubs. During monthly group meetings ongoing research, experimental designs, and recent papers are being discussed between WIAS PhD colleagues from different chairgroups. By attending the journal clubs, PhD candidates can obtain ects. The AHIDG also organizes events such as excursions for group members.
- Master classes. The group organizes (apprx. 4 times per year) Master Classes given by experts of the field. Such events are also open to staff members, lab technicians and students.
Examples of previous master classes:
- Gut Microbiota: Quantification and implications for host health by Hauke Smidt (Molecular Ecology, WUR) and Michiel Kleerebezem (Host-Microbe Interactomics, WUR)
- Do’s and don’ts in animal health experiments: Part 1. Nutrition and ELISAs by Walter Gerrits (Animal Nutrition, WUR) and Huub Savelkoul (Cell Biology and Immunology, 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)
- Trained immunity through epigenetics by Bas Zwaan (Laboratory of Genetics, WUR) and Mihai Netea (Laboratory of Experimental Internal Medicine, Radboud University)
- Immunomodulation by food and feed by Joost van Neerven (Cell Biology & Immunology, WUR) and Harry Wichers (Wageningen Food & Biobased Research, WUR)
- Generation of knockout and transgenic mouse strains by Ivo Huijbers (Transgenic facility of the Mouse Clinic for Cancer and Aging, Amsterdam)
- Molecular omics by Dirkjan Schokker (Animal Breeding and Genomics, WUR) and Coen Govers (Fresh, Food & Chains, WUR)