Specialisation Health and disease

With this specialisation the mechanisms that play a role in maintaining the health of humans, animals and other organisms are the main focus point.

What will you learn?

You learn to look at the regulation of the immune system at the molecular and cellular level. You also observe the role of organs in immune responses against pathogens. For example, you look at the metabolic health of humans and animals. Or the effects of different food on health.

You can work on the interactions between animals and microbes or parasites and the underlying immunological mechanisms involved. Or you look at the effects of endocrine disruption in organisms. You learn about hypersensitivity and autoimmune diseases. You also have the opportunity to work with immunological techniques so you can understand the immune response to infection better.


If you choose this specialisation, you in any case follow the course Molecular regulation of health and disease (HAP) which discusses the mechanisms that play a central role in the healthy functioning of humans and animals. In addition, you choose between Immunotechnology (CBI) in which immunological mechanisms at the molecular and cellular level are discussed, and Human and Veterinary Immunology (CBI), in which the role of organs, cells and molecules in an immune defense response to pathogens is discussed.

Thesis and internship

In the second year you will start your own research (thesis) at one of the following chair groups:

You can find examples of thesis subjects at the bottom of this page.  

In the second half of your second year you will go on an internship. This can be a project at a company or organization outside Wageningen University. Recently, students following this specialisation have done the following internships:

  • Putative interactions of the sandfly fever virulence factor NSS (Intsitute for Virology, Germany);
  • Charactarisation of anti-chromatin monoclonal antibodies from lupus mice (Laboratory for kidney deseases, University Medical Centre St Radboud Nijmegen);
  • Effect of dietinterventions on infections on cancer patients (Numico-Research).

Thesis examples

In the second year of the master's programme you will start your own research (thesis) at one of the chair groups. Beneath you will find examples of thesis subjects.

Chair group Cell Biology

  • The role of poiods in protective immune responses of carp
  • Modulation of immune respons through Low Frequency Electromagnetic Field (LF EMF) exposure

Chair group Environmental systems analysis

  • Climate changes and health in the Netherlands
  • Ambrosia in Nederland; Allergische sensibilisatie en verspreiding van planten en pollen

Chair group Human and animal physiology

  • To identify and characterize early biomarkers of good health
  • Identification of molecular mechanisms underlying metabolic set-points
  • Perinatal and chronic hypothyroidism impair behavioural development in male and female rats

Chair group Host-microbe interactomics

  • Innate defence mechanisms in the small intestine
  • Role of surface proteins in virulence and pathogenesis of disease caused by Streptococcus suis

Chair group Human nutrition

  • Influence of dietary protein on gene expression, metabolic phenotype and nutrient signaling in the gut-liver axis
  • 4xD: Vitamin D for preventing Dementia and Depression in Diabetes

Chair group Microbiology

  • Population dynamics of huma small intestinal microbiota
  • Elucidation of the functionality of the microbiota of the GI-tract

Chair group Nematology

  • Successive immunoglobulin and cytokine expression in the small intestine of juvenile chicken

Chair group Systems and synthetic biology

  • An iterative workflow for mining the human intestinal metaproteome
  • Novel tools for extraction and validation of disease-related mutations applied to fabry disease

Chair group Toxicology

  • Effects of endocrine disrupting compounds on biomarkers and reproduction of fish
  • Risk-benefit analysis of natural constituents in rosemary

Chair group Virology

  • Development of an influenza virus accine using the baculovirus-insect cell expression system: indications for pandemic preparedness
  • Mixed-genotype white spot syndrome virus infections of shrimp are inversely cerrelated with disease outbreaks in ponds