PhD Summer School

This Summer School is designed for PhD students interested in host-microbe symbioses to acquire an in depth understanding of the field from diverse perspectives through the interaction with leaders in the field.

These include researchers using different model systems, and levels of analysis from molecular biology, to ecology and evolution. The Summer School will have an emphasis on functionally understanding these symbioses, including a focus on metabolic interactions. The students will acquire knowledge critical for their future choice of research direction.

Animals and plants interact with large numbers of diverse microbes. These symbionts strongly influence many different aspects of host development, physiology and evolution. This is an actively expanding field of research in biology and medicine and there is a current need to summarize and integrate the knowledge that is being generated in order to extrapolate general principles and determine important future lines of research.

The Summer School usually lasts two weeks. These conditions foster a continuous and strong interaction between faculty and students. The programme includes lectures and the development of a short written research project. This exercise promotes thinking deeply about the questions and future directions in the field.

The course is organized by the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência (IGC), Portugal, and co-organized by the Metaorganisms Collaborative Research Center in Kiel, Germany, and the Biology at the Host Microbe Interface PhD Program, Portugal. These institutions have a strong background in postgraduate studies and research on host-microbe symbioses and uniquely prepared to organize this innovative and high-quality Summer School.

Summer School 2022


Main Topics of the course

The host-microbe symbioses field is clearly moving towards a causal understanding of these interactions. This has been possible through a multi-disciplinary approach and the integration of different research areas. By manipulating the microbiota composition, the importance of specific bacteria or the balance between different bacteria has been established in many instances. Moreover, these interactions start to be understood at the functional molecular level.

In this course an emphasis will be given to recent advances in the functional understanding of symbioses. We will have a particular focus on chemical sensing, metabolomics of the host and their symbionts, and high spatial resolution required to monitor these microbial-host interactions. Participants will be exposed to leaders in the field with different expertise and experience in studying symbioses from many different angles.

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. Finally, 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. The work will be based on literature research and daily discussions with the lecturers.



The Summer School will be targeted at second or later years PhD students. 


Updated on 30 august 2022

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