LIVE_Innov in Belgium Semester 2

Second Semester in Belgium

Second Semester

For a specialisation in infectiology, the LIVE students will be trained in Belgium with students enrolled in the “Master in Infectious and Tropical Diseases” accredited by the Universiteit Antwerpen (UAntwerpen).

This course offers an introduction to to different data types and data mining problems in biology and medicine: quantitative data (e.g. coming from ‘omics’ platforms), string data (mainly DNA and protein sequences), text, graph data (biological networks), image data, and the challenges of data mining and machine learning. The course provide an overview of data mining techniques, biomedical data mining applications in a number of case studies and practice to familiarise the students with the statistical programming language R. Students gain insights in various data types and their associated challenges, in the context of vaccinology and infectious diseases. They understand how and which computational techniques are used to address common challenges in molecular and biomedical data analysis. They become able to select the appropriate technique for a given problem and to interpret the results of typical data mining tasks.


This course offers insight into the different types of microorganisms. A systematic overview of micro- organisms is provided and the course deals successively with virology, bacteriology, parasitology and mycology. For each type of microorganism, the following aspects are discussed: anatomy of micro- organisms, metabolism, reproduction, taxonomy, epidemiology, resistance and pathogenicity. Next, a detailed overview is given of specific viruses, bacteria, parasites and fungi, with special focus on the epidemiological aspects and pathogenicity of the various genera. Students acquire diagnostic methods, the ability to grow and identify bacteria, to evaluate the activity of antibiotics and disinfectants, to use a microbiological safety cabinet in a proper manner, to make primary cell cultures, to isolate viruses on a cell culture and to quantify viruses.

Student have already an advanced understanding of the immune defence and the different types of immune responses against viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites. Each student compiles and presents, from literature, a detailed overview of the immunity, the known and documented immune (protective) effector mechanisms, related immunopathology, and the progress in vaccine development against a particular pathogen. Students become able to give a comprehensive overview of the immunity against a particular pathogen, to predict and analyze which immune responses are essential to justify the related vaccine design.

Students learn the immunological changes during pregnancy, in general and in relation to vaccination and vaccination strategies, the ontogeny of the human immune system (innate and adaptive), the challenges for immunisation in early life, the immune changes in elderly and the effect of aging of the immune system on specific vaccine responses. Students understand what the future challenges and possible solutions are for immunization in early life, beyond the neonatal period, the impact of aging on the immune system and what the challenges and possibilities are for immunisation of the elderly population.

Linguapolis in Antwerp is the language center that trains the students in five language skills: reading, listening, writing, speaking and effective communication. The target language of the course is also the language of instruction: English, French, Dutch, Italian or Spanish. The pace of our language courses is fast: students are required to absorb a lot of information in a short span of time. Consequently, they must process the course material before and after classroom sessions through self-study and distance learning. Students are also expected to train their language skills independently. Our teaching approach offers a framework whereby the constant interaction of learning result and learning pleasure is aimed at. Both objectives are the driving forces that enable students to develop their language skills to the fullest.

Students gain advanced knowledge on virus cycle strategies, including entry in target cells, viral genome replication, virus assembly and release. Students understand molecular virological terminology, molecular infection cycle of a selected set of human and animal viruses. They become able to explain on molecular level how virus infections may lead to disease. They translate their theoretical knowledge towards practical understanding of virus biology and applications, such as methods to study virus replication and virus infected cells, virus-based gene transfer, development of antivirals and vaccines.

With experts in the field and GSK vaccines staff, students learn scientific advances contributing to the progress of vaccine development, related to adjuvants, novel technologies and routes of administrations. They study pre-clinical and clinical experience using the right adjuvant to match with the expected antigenic immune response. They investigate clinical tolerability, safety and discover licensing related to adjuvanted vaccines in general and special populations. They are involved in considerations related to novel technologies and routes of administration for future vaccine applications.

The one-week long Summer School on Vaccinology (SSV) takes a comprehensive and systematic overview to the science of vaccinology focusing not only on basic science, but also on the many stages required to commercialize and navigate the regulatory requirements for human application, both in the United States and Europe. The SSV reviews the process of designing a vaccine, from the initial stages of antigen discovery to human application; includes the evaluation of vaccine efficacy and safety; details clinical trial design, including regulatory requirements; and discusses the emerging field of active cellular immunotherapy.

With our industrial partners, including site visit and guest lecturers, this module aims to explain vaccine manufacturing principles, rules and regulations related to vaccine development, manufacturing, assessment and release. Students understand regulatory process for vaccine review and approval. They discover the role of supranational organisations in vaccine registration and surveillance, and how the expedited procedure fits into the existing legal framework for the licensing of vaccines.

Summer School on Vaccinology

At the end of semester 2, the Summer School on Vaccinology (SSV) is an unforgettable one-week summer school to boost students’ knowledge and skills on vaccine-preventable infectious diseases, vaccinations, vaccine-related immunology and vaccine safety issues. Vaccines are discussed, with information concerning the prevention of infection, their mechanism of action, efficacy, mode of administration and possible side effects. Workshops on vaccine administration and communication complement the courses. SSV continues through the network established between participants and organisers, connecting people from different areas of the health sector. This is extremely useful for international cooperation and forms a basis for scientific development itself.

Last updated : June 15, 2024