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The Summer School 2023 will be two weeks long (2-15 July). The programme includes lectures, research seminars, and the development of a short written research project to be presented by the students.

The Summer School will be targeted at second or later years PhD students to influence the direction of their independent research when they start a postdoc. We will foster diversity and equity in research by recruiting students from different cultures and research backgrounds. The faculty will promote active and equal participation of all the students.


Main Topics and Contents of the Programme

This Summer School is designed for PhD students to acquire an in depth understanding of the field of Host-Microbe interactions from diverse perspectives through the interaction with leaders in the field. The program will focus in the ecological and molecular mechanisms required to understand these processes with an evolutionary perspective.

The students will acquire knowledge applicable to their research project, but, more importantly, critical knowledge for their choice of future research directions.

To understand the mechanism involved in symbioses it is essential to understand the molecular interactions from the perspective of the host, the microbes, the microbial interactions within the microbial community, and the interplay between all these members. Moreover, it is required to take into account the environment and its spatial and physical constrains. We will address microbes as pathogens or mutualists, and a diversity of hosts from unicellular eukaryotes to plants and animals, in terrestrial and aquatic marine environments.


The specific topics covered in the programme include: 

  • Mechanisms defining host-microbe specificity
  • Spatial resolution within host-microbe symbioses
  • Establishment of microbial communities in hosts
  • Host immune detection and response to mutualists and pathogens
  • The mutualist to pathogen spectrum
  • Co-evolution of host and microbes
  • Ecology of host-microbe symbioses and the environment
  • New advances in microbiome data analysis
  • Identification of chemical and spatial networks among microbial symbionts and the host


What happens during the Summer School

The course will consist of general lectures, research seminars and organized working discussion groups. Lectures will cover the state of the art in specific areas of the field and will give the students a broad view of that area. Lecturers will also present their own research on these topics giving the students insight on how specific problems are currently addressed.

Additionally, students will develop a research proposal throughout the two weeks. Students will identify important questions in the field and propose a research project to address them. This activity aims to promote thinking deeply about the questions and future directions in the field. The work will be based on literature research and daily discussions with the lecturers. Students will be mentored by the lecturers to ensure that the concepts taught are being incorporated and to continuously receive feedback on their research proposal.

We will have 35 students and at least 23 lecturers to ensure a good student/lecturer ratio and promote a strong interaction between faculty and students.


Specific Course Activities:

  • Daily lectures on general topics on Host-Microbe Symbioses, with time for discussion
  • Research seminars on the most recent findings given by the faculty
  • Poster sessions for the students to present and discuss their research
  • Development of a novel research proposal:

Students will work in groups of 5-7 to propose a research project

In the first week each group will:

    • Identify a specific question and justify the choice
    • Give a 15 min presentation on the topic and question identified

In the second week each group will:

    • Write an Abstract
    • Write a short grant proposal (3-4 pages)
    • Give a 20 min presentation of the project (followed by 15 min discussion)

Lecturers will be assigned to meet and discuss with the groups daily.

The final proposal should include: Host and microbe perspective, metabolomics or genomics approach, a lab model system and natural system, and propose a new technique or tool.

  • Social activities: On Saturday July 8th, we will organize a social activity including a course lunch. A final course dinner will be organized on Friday 14th. Participants will leave on the 15th.



2023 BOOKLET Schedule 2 weeks.pdf


Previous Editions

2015 PhD Summer School on Host-microbe symbioses: old friends and foe (Poster 2015.pdf)

2017 PhD Summer School on Host-microbe symbioses: from functional to ecological perspectives (Poster 2017.pdf)

2019 PhD Summer School on Host-microbe symbioses: from genetics to metabolic interactions (Poster 2019.pdf)

2021 PhD Summer School on Host-Microbe Symbiosis Alumni online Meeting

2022 SymbNET PhD Summer School on Host-microbe symbioses 2022


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