HS 2023: LV 28394-01

Evolution of host parasite interactions

Lecture with exercises (2KP)

  • Structure: Weekly lectures in Fall term. Exam during last course date.


  • Dieter Ebert, Prof.; Phone: 061 207 03 60; E-mail: dieter.ebert-at-unibas.ch (responsible lecturer)
  • Louis Du Pasquier, Prof.; E-mail: dupasquier-at-unibas.ch

Attention: In Fall 2023 this course will be taught again in a mixed format. Some lectures will be online (via zoom), other in person. The first course unit (Thursday, 21. September 2023, 08h15) will be in zoom. On 28. September we have the first "in person" lecture".

Day, time and location

  • Thursdays, 08:15-10:00
  • First course unit: Thursday, 21. September, 08h15
  • Zoom lectures: The zoom link will be send in time to everybody registered for the class.
  • In person lectures: From 9. November 2023 the lectures will be in the small lecture hall of the Vasalianum (first flour, main building)!

Course description

The main goal of the course is to provide an in depth treatment of concepts, examples and methods in evolutionary biology of host-parasite interactions. The course starts with an introduction into basic evolutionary biology of parasitism. Transmission of infectious diseases and its relation to parasite fitness will be treated in depth. A further emphasize will be on the evolution of immune systems. From there we approach questions about parasite and pathogen evolution as well as host-parasite coevolution. The evolution of virulence and the role of transmission will receive special consideration. The back bone of the course are lectures. In the lectures we introduce the concepts and their theoretical background, explain methods and use examples from current research.

Topics covered in the course

  • Introduction: Concepts of parasitism
  • Principles of evolution
  • Evolution of resistance
  • The evolution of drug resistance
  • Evolution of virulence
  • Host-parasite coevolution
  • Evolution of immune system

The book "Evolutionary parasitology" by Paul Schmid-Hempel (Oxford University Press, second edition, 2021) is a good textbook for the topic of the course. It does not include all aspects treated in the course.

Credit points

To pass this course and obtain the corresponding credit points, the final exam has to be passed.

  • Date of exam: 7. December 2023
  • Time: 9h15 to 10h; (45 minutes)
  • Format of exam: the questions will be a mix of small essay questions and multiple choice.
  • Location: Small lecture hall (1. Floor), Zoological Institute, Vesalgasse 1, 4051 Basel


Recordings of the zoom lectures will be made available.

The powerpoint slides from the lectures will be made available in pdf format. The PDFs will be uploaded latest 2 days before a lecture. If you have a problems with downloading a file, please contact Dieter Ebert by email as soon as possible.

PDF files of slides used by Dieter Ebert are here

PDF files of two papers used in the course.

PDF files of material used by Louis Du Pasquier will come here: