Evolutionary medicine II 2023

Focus area Evolutionary Medicine II

Module code


Abbreviated title

EvoMed II

Module components

Lab seminar, lab practical, joint seminar of all focus areas


Semester 3

Module coordinator/


J. Baines



J. Baines (IEM), A. Nebel (IKMB), principal investigators of research groups working on research topics of focus areas (joint seminars)

Contact hours

Practical 9 CH               Lab seminar 1 CH                  Joint seminar 1 CH






Total:  330 h

Lab practical: 240 h
Attendance time 100 h, preparation 60 h, revision 80 h

Lab seminar: 60 h

Attendance time 14 h, preparation 26 h, revision 20 h
Joint seminar “Current affairs”:
Attendance time 14 h, preparation 10 h, revision 6 h

Credit points

11 (practical 8 CP, lab seminar 2 CP, joint seminar 1 CP)


EvoMed I passed

Expected outcome

Knowledge: Students

- are familiar with the theories in evolutionary science important in medical research

- have acquired in-depth knowledge on physiological and molecular processes important in evolutionary medicine

- are familiar with lab techniques in molecular evolutionary research described in the literature and can explain them

- have a thorough understanding of the experiments conducted during the practical.

Skills: Students

-can formulate testable evolutionary hypotheses pertaining to medical diseases and conditions

-can distinguish between proximate (e.g. mechanistic) versus evolutionary explanations for medical diseases and conditions

- can conduct the different steps of their lab experiments and explain them

- are able to perform quality control measures for the results obtained

- can analyse their results and put them into relation to the research area.

Competences: Students

- can select adequate research techniques from molecular biology, evolutionary biology, human genetics and apply them to scientific questions in evolutionary medicine

- can plan experiments, analyse the data obtained and interpret results

- can reflect on their own work critically and integrate new results adequately

- can familiarize themselves with a topic and develop research approaches

- are aware of the connections between the topics of the different focus areas, can link and explain them.



Seminar: Preparation of a project by literature research and discussions with fellow students and lecturers.

Discussion of current papers including method papers.

Practical: Execution of a lab project on topics such as identifying disease-causing candidate mutations using population genetic and/or molecular evolutionary methods, studying the phylogeny and diversification of disease genes, studying the function of a disease gene in model organisms such as mouse, fruit fly or hydra, performing experimental evolution in bacteria and/or viruses to understand principles of the evolution of antibiotic resistance or virulence.

Joint seminar: Joint discussion of papers relevant for all focus areas.

Module evaluation/



Scientific project thesis with oral presentation

Media used

PPT presentations, handouts, lab experiments


Ridley M, Evolution (John Wiley & Sons 2003) [still valid, no new edition available]

Gluckman P, Beedle A, Hanson M, Principles of Evolutionary Medicine (OUP 2nd edition, 2016)

Stearns S, Medzhitov R, Evolutionary Medicine (Sinauer Associates 2015)

Current original publications and reviews