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Pharmaceuticals from Plants


Admission requirements

Elementary knowledge of plant and animal biology (molecular biology, cell biology, cell physiology), biochemistry, natural products /secondary metabolites.

Contact information

Coordinator: Dr. M. Wang


The aim of this course is to get a good understanding of the possibilities and current status of the development of pharmaceuticals from plants. You will learn about bioactive molecules from natural sources, their biological activities, safety, quality control and production flow, and also about the legal aspects of herbal medicines. Some practical identifications of herbal plant materials will be experienced in Leiden University Hortus Botanicus.

Learning goals

Course objectives:

The goal of this course is to generate a good knowledge on working mechanisms of pharmaceuticals derived from plants, what are the quality control systems for their production, and understanding the difference between single molecules as drugs and multiple compounds derived from plant as medicines.

Final qualifications:

Besides an in depth knowledge on plant pharmaceutical (see course objectives), students will also have improved skills in reading and understanding scientific literature, and in understanding challenging lectures on state of the art scientific topics. Students will also be skilled in preparing presentations and writing short assessments based on their literature study, and in formulating scientific questions, and discussing and presenting their knowledge in the group.


From 1 May 2020 – 30 June 2020:
30 April Thursday 14:15-17:00
08 May Friday 14:15-17:00
14 May Thursday 14:15-17:00
19 May Tuesday 14:15-17:00
26 May Tuesday 14:15-17:00
05 June Friday 14:15-17:00
11 June Thursday 14:15-17:00
19 June Friday 14:15-17:00
26 June Friday 14:15-17:00
10 July Friday 14:15-17:00

Mode of instruction

Following 2 introductory lectures, a list of topics will be given to the students. The introductory lectures will give an overview of the topics and provides scopes and goals for selection of the key articles and related articles. A guidance will be given for the selection of the articles (either in group meeting or in an individual meeting with teacher). A topic within the field of pharmaceuticals from plants can be chosen from the list provided to you by the instructors. The students will select one of the topics and are asked to search for literature related to the selected topic (review and research papers). The students should be able to find recent reviews and key journal articles in the scientific literature databases. Active participation in answering questions, solving problems and explaining concepts to fellow students is part of the introductions.
Based on the literature search by the students, in a follow up individual discussion with the teacher a decision will be made for one key article for further study. One key article will be selected for the presentation, however, other articles to support your selected article can be used.
The student will have to prepare a presentation on the selected scientific article and formulate questions about the article reviewed. Students are expected to present and clarify current concepts within the field of pharmaceuticals from plant origin. Results will be presented by students in an oral presentation. This is part of scientific training: a literature research project, including the discussion of key journal articles and preparation of your Power Point presentation. The references you use should be given as a list at the end of your PPT.

Assessment method

Power point presentation, contributions during the discussion, preparation of the questions.

The quality of your presentation and discussion of your questions raised during the presentation and your participation in the discussion with the other students.

The presentations must show your ability to:
o analyze the scientific literature and specific journal articles including the research techniques used
o place the views and models discussed in the scientific articles in a broader perspective
o search the literature for additional information, needed to obtain a clear understanding of the discussed views and models
o understand and explain the basics and concepts relevant to the scientific topic in a clear fashion to your fellow students.
o At the presentations of other students, your active participation in the discussions is evaluated as well.

Written examination on the topics presented in the introductory lectures.

The grade will be calculated from 50% of the power point presentation (70% content and 30% the quality of presentation, contributions during the discussion, preparation of the questions), and 50% from the written exam.


The course information, time table and study material will be available via Blackboard.

Reading list

  • Lectures

  • Recommended book to read: Drugs of natural original by Gunnar Samulesson, Lars Bohlin (7th edition), important reading materials will be posted on blackboard. Knowledge in this book can be used in the final power point presentation.

  • Additional literature required for the lectures and own power point presentation on a chosen topic. Selected article study via Medline/Pubmed databases etc.


Via USIS and enroll in Blackboard

Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Prospective students website for more information on how to apply.