Nutrition and Infectious Disease


Course Objective

The focus of this course is on the interactions
between malnutrition and infection, both key global concerns in
vulnerable populations. Several examples of infections in relation to
nutritional status outcomes will be used to illustrate the role
infection plays in the etiology and pathogenesis of malnutrition and the
role malnutrition has in the host defense mechanisms and resistance to
This course has been designed to enable students to critically appraise
literature, employ epidemiological methods and prepare students for
their MSc internship. Students will use a guided self-study approach to
learn the principles of nutrition and infectious diseases.
In order to apply the newly acquired knowledge students will be expected
• Choose and explore, in depth, a biological mechanism relevant to
nutrition and infectious disease.
• Develop an appropriate study design for a research question related to
infectious disease and nutrition.
• Employ epidemiological methods to describe and understand risk factors
related to nutrition and infectious disease.
• Run analyses on one of the several available datasets in order to
answer the research question and to present the results.

Course Content

The course has a strong international focus and will cover key
nutritional concepts related to global trends, with a focus on the
nutritional concerns of vulnerable populations. The course will focus on
both epidemiology and biological pathways. The inter-relationship
between infection and both under-nutrition as well as nutrition related
chronic disease is of increasing importance and will be emphasized. In
addition, this course helps students to prepare for the MSc Internship;
the different assignments contribute to refreshing and adding to
knowledge on literature appraisal, study designs, statistical analysis
and SPSS.

Teaching Methods

The focus of the course is on guided student learning. The first two
weeks will include lectures followed by discussion groups and in-class
assignments. The remainder of the course will be focused on individual
as well as group projects and data analysis. Students will be expected
to demonstrate an in-depth understanding of nutrition and infectious

Tuition methods include:
• Lectures (30 hours)
• Discussion groups and in-class assignments (20 hours)
• Data analysis: individual and group project (70 hours)
• Self-study (40 hours)

Method of Assessment

The course grade is based on presentations, written exam, peer reviews
and an written assignment. To pass the course, all grades have to be 5.5
or above and the presentation on literature and the peer reviews must be
concluded with a pass.
• presentation on literature (pass/fail)
• written exam (50%)
• data analysis assignment (40%)
• peer reviews (pass/fail)
• presentation of the data analysis assignment (10%)

Entry Requirements

The admission requirements for this course are the same as for the MSc
Health Sciences programme:

You will need to have at least a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited
research university including at least three full years of academic
study amounting to a minimum of 180 ECTS or equivalent.

Specific admission requirements for the MSc Health Sciences programme:
1. Adequate knowledge in health and/or life sciences (see list of
‘Related Disciplines’ below)
2. 6 ECTS in Epidemiology
3. 12 ECTS in Biostatistics
4. 30 ECTS Biology


Course reading material will consist out of scientific articles and book
chapters which will be provided on the Canvas page of Nutrition and
Infectious Disease.

Target Audience

Optional course within the MSc programmes of Health Sciences. Compulsory
for Infectious Diseases and Public Health specialisation.

General Information

Course Code AM_470816
Credits 6 EC
Period P3
Course Level 500
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator dr. M. van der Hoeven
Examiner dr. M. van der Hoeven
Teaching Staff dr. M. van der Hoeven

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Seminar, Lecture, Study Group, Computer lab
Target audiences

This course is also available as: