An overview of the most important details
Infectious diseases have been a scourge of humanity since the beginning of times and the present COVID-19 pandemic reminds us again how vulnerable we are to pathogens, even in the age of modern medicine and hygiene. Indeed, communicable diseases still cause a large proportion of annual deaths, especially in low-income countries which carry the largest burden.
Lower respiratory tract infections, diarrheal diseases, tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV/AIDS are claiming millions of lives every year and disable even more. But also a very large number of other infectious diseases, often neglected by scientific research and the pharmaceutical industry, pose considerable challenges to societies. Furthermore, the increasing number of resistant pathogens, mainly bacteria but also fungi and parasites, make the treatment of diseases, long believed to be overcome, difficult. Especially in hospitals, the rise of nosocomial infections with multiply resistant microbes has become a major challenge.
It is therefore timely and highly relevant to offer a PhD program specializing on the biology of pathogens and infectious diseases. The program will encompass the whole spectrum of microorganisms, i.e. viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites and will cover multiple aspects such as basics in microbiology, pathogen-host interactions, virulence, prevention and hygiene, antimicrobial resistance, vaccine development, and the microbiome. Nosocomial infections as well as community infections will be covered so that a thorough training of PhD candidates enlisting in the program in the field of infection biology can be provided.