Committed to teaching Immunology to Medical Students, Postgraduate Students, Clinical Residents & Medical Immunologists


The Department of Immunology is engaged in the training and education of medical doctors, medical students, PhD students, postdoctoral fellows, master’s degree students and undergraduate students in related disciplines. A commitment to excellence and active engagement in teaching and education is a priority of the Department of Immunology. Faculty of the Department are dedicated to medical student education, providing lectures and practical lab experience in the fields of immunology and histology.

The Department currently has 25 PhD students in training. Over 120 PhD students have received their training within the department within the last 30 years. Of these, 60% remain engaged as academic scientists and 10% have become full professors. As a member of the Molecular Medicine research school and in collaboration with other departments within Erasmus MC, the department supports multiple Master of Science programs. A major contribution of the Department is dedicated to the “Infection and Immunity” program. The department regularly offers special seminars from leaders in the field of immunology, mini-symposia, as well as elective courses and research open to the greater scientific community.

Erasmus MC Medical School

The teaching activities of the department of Immunology within the curriculum of medical students are:

  • Course ‘De gezonde mens’ (The healthy human being) – first year of Bachelor: lectures, practical training and self-study assignments.
  • Course ‘Stoornissen in voeding, metabolisme en hormonale regulatie’ (Nutrition, metabolism and hormonal regulation) – first year of Bachelor: lecture.
  • Course ‘Oncologie’ (Oncology) – second year of Bachelor: lectures, practical training and self-study assignments.
  • Course ‘Infectie- en immuunziekten’ (Infectious and Immune diseases) – second year of Bachelor: lectures, practical training (laboratory skills, histology and tutorials in which medical problems are discussed) and self-study assignments.
  • Elective courses (second year of Bachelor): Themes ‘Inflammation: Paradise or evil empire?’ and ‘Immunodeficiencies’.
  • Elective research in the fourth or sixth year of study (Master).

The elective courses in the second year of study at the Erasmus MC, are coordinated by Dr. Saskia van Blokland.

Medical students with a special interest in Immunology are welcome to inquire for the possibilities to gain laboratory experience in one of the research groups of the Department, for example for a half-day per week. For more information, please contact dr. Saskia van Blokland.

Clinical Technology

The department of Immunology organizes, in association with the department of Hematology of the Erasmus MC and the department Immunohematology and Blood transfusion (IHB) of the LUMC the course ‘Bloedvorming, Afweer en Laboratoriumtechnieken’ for first year Clinical Technology students. This course consists of lectures, practicals and self-study assignments.

MSc program Infection & Immunity

The Master of Science program in Infection and Immunity is an initiative of the research school MolMed. Researchers of the department of Immunology contribute to this program. Recent developments in medical and biomedical technologies provide novel tools to gain in-depth knowledge of the fundamental mechanisms of infectious and immune diseases. This new program is meant to train a new generation of translational scientists that will strengthen and improve Erasmus MC research in this area.

In two years, students will be trained in translational research at the crossroads of infection and immunity by top-quality research groups at Erasmus MC. Intensive training in fundamental and advanced immunology and microbiology is combined with thorough training in clinical and population-based research. The program covers the complete field of host-microbe interplay and autoimmunity: e.g. immunology (fundamental, organ-specific), transplant immunology, auto-immune diseases, immunodeficiencies, virology and microbiology (basic and advanced), the role of genetic variation in host and microbe, clinical pharmacology, epidemiology of infectious diseases and biosafety.

More information on this program can be found on the website of the research school MolMed

Postgraduate Education

The department is responsible for different tasks with respect to postgraduate education.

  • Participant in the postgraduate school Molecular Medicine.
  • SMBWO Immunologist, Medical Immunologist and Clinical Immunologist.
  • Participant in education for internist, internist-immunologist, pediatrician infectiologist-immunologist.

PhD programm

PhD students at the department of Immunology follow a program, consisting of the following elements:
  1. A basic course Immunology. This consists of a course Medical Immunology (Utrecht, September – November each year, based on ‘Medische Immunologie’ by Benner et al.), an SMBWO exam in Immunology, a 8-day course ‘Advanced Immunology, a short course’ (based on ‘Janeway’s Immunobiology’, and an introductory course ‘Molecular Medicine’ (organized yearly by the Research School Molecular Medicine).
  2. Courses, organized by the faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences: Biomedical English – writing and communication, Biostatistics (based on ‘Practical statistics for medical research’ by D.G. Altman) and Philosophy of science.
  3. Courses for practical work such as: Laboratory animal competence (three-week course, article 9), competence to work with radioactivity (article 5B), competence to work with genetically modified organisms.
  4. Departmental meetings, aimed at transfer of knowledge, such as the weekly departmental meetings, seminars, minisymposia and introductory lectures, and journal club.
  5. Other elements such as diverse courses organized by the Research School of Molecular Medicine or by other research schools, lunches of PhD students with speakers of minisymposia or seminars, a course in research management (Netherlands Institute for Biology (NIBI)) and a PhD student retreat (yearly).

Training Medical Immunologist

Medical Immunology specializes on the performance and interpretation of immunodiagnostic assays in the context of health care. The department of Immunology constitutes, together with the department Medical Immunology of the Medical Laboratories of the Reinier de Graaf Groep in Delft, an educational institution for Medical Immunology, acknowledged by the Dutch Society for Immunology (NVVI).

The training for Medical Immunologist is aimed at gaining specific knowledge and experience, needed to exert immunological laboratory diagnostics, and lead an immunodiagnostic laboratory. The major part of the training occurs at the department of Immunology. Furthermore, training periods are done at other diagnostic laboratories of the Erasmus MC or at institutes in the region.

Candidates for the training for Medical Immunologist will be recognized as SMBWO Immunologist.


On a regular basis, students of the higher school for laboratory teaching or university students (medicine, medical biology, biology, biomedical sciences), perform their practical training at the Department of Immunology.

Research at the Department of Immunology is focused on leukemia / malignant lymphoma, immunodeficiency, immunity to infection, autoimmune diseases and chronic inflammatory disorders. Furthermore, basic immunological research is performed, focusing on the development of the immune system and cellular interactions during immune responses. In all research lines, students participate for a period varying between 5 and 10 months. Under the heading ‘research’, the research lines of the department are mentioned. If students are interested in a training position at the Department, they are advised to contact the research leader of the project of interest, or, for more information about training possibilities, dr. Saskia van Blokland.