Course Objective

The general aim of this course is to generate a basic, molecular,
understanding of essential components, mechanisms, forces and processes
that support cellular function, as a basis for later courses in
molecular life sciences. After taking this course, the student can:
• Identify important biochemical building blocks and how they are
assembled into macromolecules.
• Describe the forces and interactions that determine the structure and
composition of biological macromolecules.
• Explain what determines the direction of a biochemical reaction, how
enzymes work, how enzymes are regulated and which role membranes have in
• Explain how macromolecules function in networks within living cells
and how they cooperate in order to execute important life processes,
with particular attention for cellular energetics and the concepts,
coherence and regulation of metabolic processes in a human cell.
• Apply mathematical techniques as learned in secondary school to solve
biochemical problems.
• Use simple mathematical models of biochemical processes and explain
the relevance of the outcome.
• Apply various biochemical and biophysical techniques with attention
for biological and chemical safety rules.
• Setup a biochemical experiment, keep record of the results, analyze
them and present them in a written report.

Course Content

During the course, the following topics will be covered:
• The concept of Gibbs energy and changes in Gibbs energy during
reactions and interactions of molecules.
• Biological macromolecules and the building blocks they are composed
of, with particular attention for proteins.
• The most important roles of proteins, in particular catalysis and its
• The structure of biological membranes and relevant transport processes
across them.
• The concepts of catabolism and coupled energy transformations.
• The quantitative analysis of cellular processes and the required
mathematical tools.

Teaching Methods

Lectures: 32 hours
Tutorials: 14 hours
Practical: 22 hours

Method of Assessment

The grade for this course is composed out of two parts: one grade for
knowledge and understanding of theory tested in a digital exam (67%),
and one grade for the practicals, based on a written report (33%).
Explanatory notes:
(i) The grade for the practicals is based on the written report,
provided that the student has actively participated during the practical
training. In the case of an insufficient grade, the report can be
corrected one time based on the feedback provided. The grade for a
corrected report cannot exceed 6.0.
(ii) In order to pass the course, sufficient grades (5.5 or higher) must
be obtained for both parts of the course.


Marks' BASIC Medical Biochemistry, A clinical approach
5th edition
Michael Lieberman & Alisa Peet
Wolters Kluwer USA
ISBN-13: 978-1-4963-8772-1
ISBN-10: 1-4963-8772-4

Target Audience

This course is obligatory for first-year students Biomedical Sciences

Additional Information

Presence and preparation are compulsory for tutorials and practicals.
During laboratory practicals, wearing a lab coat is obligatory.

Custom Course Registration

You have to register for this course and for the corresponding examinations using VUnet. Subsequently, you will be assigned to a group for the tutorials and practicals. Please note that if one of the grades is insufficient, you need to register for the resit exam in order to obtain your new course grade, even if it is the report of the practicals that was insufficient.

General Information

Course Code AB_1137
Credits 6 EC
Period P2
Course Level 100
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator dr. ir. Y.J.M. Bollen
Examiner dr. ir. Y.J.M. Bollen
Teaching Staff dr. ir. Y.J.M. Bollen
prof. dr. B. Teusink

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Study Group*, Lecture, Other*, Practical*, Computer lab*, Seminar*, Meeting*

*You cannot select a group yourself for this teaching method, you will be placed in a group.

Target audiences

This course is also available as: