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Mechanisms of Disease


Admission requirements

The Cell Biology course (second year), elementary knowledge of Cell Signaling and Molecular Biology.

Contact information

Coordinator: Dr. B. Ewa Snaar-Jagalska


The aim of this course is to get a good understanding of the molecular mechanisms of human disease, in particular cancer (oncogenes, tumor suppressors, chromosomal abbreviations and genome instability), infectious disease (tuberculosis, Salmonella infection), diabetes, neuronal-stress disorders, developmental disorders and ageing.

Learning goals

Course objectives:
The goal of this course is to generate a good knowledge on cell-cell communication, how the signal transduction events underlie various pathological processes and how this knowledge can be used to develop better treatment strategies of human diseases.
The lectures will be given by the experts from the field providing excellent knowledge from the lab table but also giving opportunity to learn the topography of scientific research in the Netherlands.

Final qualifications:
Students will improve their skills concerning the literature study, understanding of challenging lectures on the modern scientific topics, writing, formulating scientific questions, discussing and presenting their knowledge in the group.


The lectures will be given mostly in the morning and the afternoons are meant for self-study on a daily basis. In the last week of the course students will give their own presentation on a chosen topic and prepare for the examination, which will be taken in the morning on the 7th of December. Participation in lectures is obligatory and please realize that this is a full time course.

Mode of instruction

A series of obligatory lectures provided by invited specialist speakers (Dr. K. Szuhai, Prof. P. ten Dijke from LUMC; Prof. J. den Hertog and Dr. Jeroen Bakkers from Hubrecht Lab; Dr. B. Zwaan, Prof. M. Richardson, Dr. M. Schaaf, Dr. A. Meijer, Dr. B. E. Snaar-Jagalska from IBL) will be combined with own literature self-study. The students will have to write a short summary on the topic of the lecture before and subsequently formulate a few questions after the lectures.

Assessment method

  • PowerPoint presentation.

  • Written examination requesting knowledge of lectures and the following pages from Alberts: 831-889, 907-929, 1340-1361, and 1453-1462.

Grade will be calculated as 70% examination (min 5 is obligatory) plus 30% power point presentation and other tasks.


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

Reading list

Lectures and Alberts et al, Molecular Biology of the Cell, 4th edition 2002, Garland Science NY and additional literature required for the lectures and own power point presentation on a chosen topic.



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


Course can be followed by Biology MSC and by LST, BFW, BMW MSC students, but please realize this is a difficult course asking your interest and commitment.