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Spotlight on Biology, Advanced Lecture series


Admission requirements

Lectures are open for all MSc students from the Faculty Mathematics & Natural Sciences, but non-biology students should check with their study advisor.


In the Spotlight on biology series both PhD students, postdocs and staff members give short (20 minutes plus 10 minutes questions) presentations about new, exiting developments in biology. The lectures give a broad overview of what is happening in the Institute Biology Leiden and related institutes such as the Herbarium, Naturalis and the Institute for Environmental Sciences. The coordinator will grade students for this project at the end, if necessary with the help of specialists in the institute.

Learning goals

Course objectives:
The student is trained to write short reports from oral scientific presentations. The aim of the student should be to give a good summary of the talk explaining the aim, background and results of the research presented by the speaker. Finally, the student can discuss the importance of the results or its impact.

Final qualifications:
The student has obtained general knowledge about the research within the IBL. This covers the different aspects of Biology represented by the different IBL groups. Furthermore, the student has learned to summarize the essentials of an oral presentation by writing a condensed abstract of the talk.


Lectures are from 13.00-14.00 at the Sylvius building at the first Thursday of each month, with the exception of a summer break. You can find up-to-date information about dates, speakers and titles at Students can begin attending the Spotlight meetings at any time of the year. They may miss lectures and attend lectures in different years, as long as the total is 9 Spotlight units. Students are required to sign up with the coordinator at their first attendance.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method

Presence will be noted, please fill in the form when you attend. At the end of the course students hand in a short report about the lectures (no longer than 0.5 page A4 for one talk), summarizing the main question(s) and findings of the speakers and to what extent they answered these questions in their talks.

Students are required to follow 9 Spotlights (=18 lectures). The IBL Symposium counts as 3 Spotlights so that 6 Spotlights and 1 Symposium is also possible. It is possible to follow other symposia, but contact the coordinator IN ADVANCE about this option.


Blackboard will be used.

Reading list

After lectures it will be possible to ask some questions to the speakers and coordinator. Powerpoints and/or supporting materials are available in Blackboard. Reports of the talks should be uploaded via blackboard.


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

Contact information

Dr. Arthur F.J Ram (4914);
Alternative contacts: Dr. Klaas Vrieling (5136) or Marcel Schaaf (4975)


A free lunch is available before the lectures