Specialisation Health and Disease

This specialisation focuses on the biology of human and animal health.

What will you learn?

The Health and Disease specialisation focuses on the prevention of health problems and the functioning of healthy animals. Therefore, students are taught molecular, immunological, virological, physiological and disease ecological approaches.


Students follow two specialisation courses. You have to choose at least one course from RO1A (courses about literature and scientific analysis) and one course from RO1B (courses that develop research skills relevant for the scientific discipline of the specialisation). The specialisation offers more than two courses, providing opportunities for further specialisation. Students also have the option of following more courses related to their specialisation within their free choice or to perform a second thesis research project.

Molecular Regulation of Health and Disease (HAP): The courses focuses on regulatory mechanisms that have a central role in human and animal health. Host-Parasite Interactions (NEM): The focus in this course is on current topics in host-parasite interactions, which includes advanced knowledge from other disciplines.
Human and Veterinary Immunology (CBI): The aim of this course is to provide advanced knowledge on the functioning of the immune system at both, cellular and organ level as well as its evolutionary development. Disease Ecology (REG): The overarching aim of the course is to offer a current and comprehensive view of the causes and consequences of infectious disease at the levels of individuals, communities and ecosystems.
Fundamental and Applied Virology (VIR): In this course interactions between viruses and their hosts will be discussed. Immunotechnology (CBI): Immunotechnology focuses on the use of modern biotechnology to design immune intervention strategies that are based on a thorough knowledge of immunological mechanisms.
Commensal and Pathogen Host-Microbe Interactions in the Intestine (HMI): The course aims to teach students the concepts involved in the science of host microbe interactomics rather than a detailed technological training in the field, which may be taught in follow-up MSc-thesis studies. Brain, Hormones and Metabolism (HAP): During the course different aspects of brain function with specific emphasis on the physiological aspects, will be discussed.
Human Microbiome (MIB) An integrated view of the human intestinal tract and their microbes including their cross-talk and importance for the pharma and food industry.

Thesis and internship

In the second year you will start your own research (thesis) in 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.

Thesis examples

Chair group Human and animal physiology

  • Perinatal and chronic hypothyroidism impair behavioural development in male and female rats.
  • Hormonal regulation of puberty onset in female rats: is leptin a missing link?

Chair group Microbiology

  • Development of genetic systems for syntrophic bacteria
  • Exploring microbial diversity of marine sponges using 16S rRNA High-Throughput methods
  • Genomic analysis of symbionts to understand the nature of symbiosis

Chair group Virology

  • Structure-function relationship of the baculovirus envelope fusion protein F
  • Transmission of white spot syndrome virus improved-extensive and semi-intensive shrimp production systems: a molecular epidemiology study

Chair group Toxicology

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