Host-microbe symbioses – old friends and foes


Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência, Oeiras near Lisbon, Portugal


19th July – 1st August 2015


European Summer School

In the Summer School “Host-microbe symbioses – old friends and foes” we will explore stable host-microbe interactions as a spectrum from parasitic to mutualistic. It is becoming clear that most animals and plants associate with microbes during their life and that these greatly influence host biology. The course will last two weeks and will explore this field with leading scientists that bring a broad range of expertise and approaches. The Summer School will be targeted at second or later years PhD students. The main aim of this meeting is to help them define their future research interests.

Course description:

In this Summer School we will consider symbiotic associations as a whole. Host-microbe symbiosis is a multidisciplinary field with the input of different perspectives essential for its understanding. The course will cover the subject from complementary perspectives: from the host and the microbe viewpoint, from a functional or evolutionary approach, in invertebrates and vertebrates, looking at microbes as pathogens or mutualists, and as one-to-one interactions or complex multi-organisms consortiums. Participants will interact with leaders in the field with different expertise and experience in studying symbiosis from all these different angles. The course will last two weeks and will consist of general lectures, research seminars and development of a project. 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 project 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.

Main speakers include:

  • Martin Blaser (New York University, USA), Resident microbes and the ecology of human diseases
  • Thomas Bosch (Kiel University, Germany), Evolution and the ecology of development
  • Jocelyne Demengeot (Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência, Portugal), Lymphocyte physiology
  • Maria Gloria Dominguez-Bello (New York University, USA), Microbial ecology and translational medicine
  • Nicole Dubilier (Max-Planck-Institute for Marine Microbiology, Germany), Symbionts in marine invertebrates
  • Isabel Gordo (Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência, Portugal), Evolutionary biology
  • Rob Knight (University of California at San Diego, USA), Microbial diversity and metagenomics
  • Éva Kondorosi (Biological Research Centre of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Hungary), Symbiosis and functional genomics
  • José Pereira Leal (Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência, Portugal), Computational genomics
  • Bruno Lemaitre (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland), Insect-microbe interactions and immunity
  • Andrew Macpherson (University of Bern, Switzerland), Immunity at the mucosal surface
  • Margaret McFall-Ngai (University of Hawaii at Manoa, USA), Invertebrate-microbe symbiotic interactions
  • Nancy Moran (University of Texas-Austin, USA), Symbiosis and evolution of biological complexity
  • Howard Ochman (University of Texas-Austin, USA), Microbial evolution
  • Ned Ruby (University of Hawaii at Manoa, USA), Biology of microbial symbionts
  • Philippe J. Sansonetti (Pasteur Institute, France), Molecular microbial pathogenesis
  • Miguel Soares (Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência, Portugal), Inflammation
  • Luis Teixeira (Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência), Host-microbe interactions
  • Karina Xavier (Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência), Bacterial signaling

Course prerequisites and target group:

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

Applications are accepted from students performing studies at European universities or students studying outside Europe and holding European citizenship. We also encourage applications from Turkey and Israel.

Participation quota:

30 students


Accepted applicants will have tuition, lodging and food fully covered. Travel scholarship will be available to some of the applicants. We are committed to admitting talented students from diverse backgrounds.


The online application period for this summer school will open on 15th January 2015 and close on 15th March 2015.

Applicants should submit a letter explaining why they want to participate in the course, CV, and two letters of reference, one from the PhD supervisor.

Please visit the website of our application system:

Please note: We have changed our application system to a new version on 14 January. If you have registered with the old version before this date, you may have to register again by choosing the button "Apply for an account". If in doubt: Only the correct version of the application portal lets you apply for the course in Lisbon.

We are looking forward to receiving your application!

If you have any questions, please write to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


This course is organized by Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência. For further information contact Luis Teixeira or Karina Xavier at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

This summer school is supported by Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian and VolkswagenStiftung. It is an initiative in the framework of the European Campus of Excellence (ECE).