Concepts in Chemical Biology


Course Objective

The ability to critically discuss published data will be trained.
After the course, students are expected to know:
- the hallmarks of cancer and know the underlying principles
- core cancer signaling pathways
- inhibition strategies of signaling pathways – e.g. use of small
molecules, stabilized peptides
- peptidomimetics and their use for challenging targets in signaling
- chemical reactions for the selective covalent modification of proteins
- protein labeling techniques (encoded tags, enzymes (PTMs), reactions)
- bio-orthogonal and ligand directed reactions
- (non-)natural protein modifications for improved functions
- classical protein engineering (natural: directed evolution,
- principle idea of pluripotency vs. induced pluripotency (Yamanaka
- features of iPS and iPS generation
- chemical modulation of stem cell differentiation

Course Content

Apart from a general introduction, four main topics are discussed
throughout the course:
1) Targeting Hallmarks of Cancer
2) Visualization of Proteins
3) Chemically Advanced Proteins
4) Steering Stem Cell Differentiation
During these four chapters different techniques central to Chemical
Biology research will be discussed (e.g. reporter gene assay,
biomolecular binding assays, structural elucidation)

Teaching Methods

All relevant publications (reviews and research articles) will be
provided before each topic and the students are required to read them
and be able to summarize the content.
Every of the four topics will be communicated via
- Two lectures (each 2x 45 min.) in which the content of selected review
publications and relevant techniques will be presented by the lecturer
and discussed in a intervening inquiry-based dialogue with the students.
- One seminar (peer-to-peer) focusing on a research article in which the
students will discuss and answer a set of questions in groups (45 min)
and then present their results to the whole class (45 min)
Attendance is not mandatory, but highly advisable.

Method of Assessment

The course will involve the following exams:
- Midterm exam (Content: topic 1+2)
Final exam (Content topic 1-4
Re-sit exam (Content same as final exam)
The Midterm exam is optional and can contribute up to 1.0 bonus points
for the final grade. The amount of bonus is the grade in the midterm
exam divided by 10 (e.g. an 8 means 0.8 bonus points).
IMPRORTANTLY: You need at least a grade of 5.5 in the midterm and final
exam to qualify for the bonus. Also the bonus will only be applied for
the final exam / resit-exam in the same year.


Literature (reviews and research articles) will be provided on CANVAS

Target Audience

Master students (Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences) with interest in
Chemical Biology

Custom Course Registration

This course is offered by the UvA. For more information contact: FNWI Education Service Centre, Science Park 904, servicedesk-esc-, +31 (0)20 525 7100. Enrolment via is required.

Recommended background knowledge

- basic physico-chemical knowledge: e.g. Gibbs free energy, forces
(coulomb, H-bonds, van der Waals),
- basic chemical knowledge: e.g. electronegativity, bond character,
acids & bases, organic synthesis
- basic biochemical knowledge: e.g. general characteristics of a
bacterial, mammalian and plant cell, phospholipids & biological membrane
formation and function, nucleotides, DNA, RNA, double helix formation,
gene regulation, amino acids and peptide bond formation, protein
primary, secondary and tertiary structure, transcription, translation,
post-translational modifications, signal transduction, principle of
enzymatic reactions

General Information

Course Code XM_0080
Credits 6 EC
Period P5
Course Level 400
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator prof. dr. T.N. Grossmann
Examiner prof. dr. T.N. Grossmann
Teaching Staff dr. S. Hennig
prof. dr. T.N. Grossmann

Practical Information

You cannot register for this course yourself; your faculty's education office carries out registration

Teaching Methods Lecture
Target audiences

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