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Chemical Biology, Signal Transduction and Targeted Therapy


Admission requirements

  • Basic understanding of chemistry and signal transduction mechanisms (Biomedical Sciences Bachelor courses Biomolecules, Cellular Communication, and Molecular Biology and Oncology).

  • Alberts B. et al, Molecular Biology of the Cell, 4th ed 2002, New York: Garland. Chapter 15.

  • Weinberg RA, The Biology of Cancer, Garland Science, Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. Chapters 5 and 6.

  • Successful completion of 3120321PPY (How to write a research proposal) is strongly recommended.


Chemistry-based diagnostic and therapeutic targeted approaches for human diseases will be studied, in particular disorders associated with misregulated signal transduction, protein degradation and ubiquitination. In addition, drug-design and identification and functional characterization of the targets of novel diagnostic and therapeutic molecules will be discussed.


This four week course will take you through the successive steps of how chemical and cell biological techniques are used for the development of diagnostic and/or therapeutic molecules to be used in targeted clinical applications.

In the first weeks you will get an introduction into the aims of the course (what is signal transduction? what is targeted therapy? which chemical tools (e.g the ubiquitination toolbox) are available and (being) developed), and you will get lectures on different aspects of translational research (chemistry, drug discovery and development, molecular imaging, genetic approaches, animal models, examples of deregulated signal transduction in human disorders).

Secondly, each student will be coupled to a PhD student or postdoc to discuss and participate in (one of) his/her research topics. Each student will analyse and present (a) relevant scientific paper(s) on this research topic. (Presentations to be held in the second week). Moreover, each student will under supervision of the PhD student/postdoc and the course coordinator write a grant proposal in which a specific molecule/target is proposed for drug/clinical development. At the end of the 4th week each student will also give a presentation on his/her proposal in a mini-symposium. During the course visits will be made to Biotechnology companies (involved in clinical trials). In addition, a senior scientist will be invited to discuss with students what it takes to be a successful scientist and two PhD students will discuss with students about their experiences doing research in the laboratory.


The student:

  • Shows and applies understanding of signal transduction and cellular communication in normal and pathological systems (AK-1; AK-2)

  • Develops treatment strategies of human diseases. (AK-4)

  • Is able to substantiate conclusions independently with relevant literature and/or data (J-3; L-1)

  • Considers, depending on the topic, possible social and ethical implications in developed treatment strategies and conclusions. (J-4)

  • Shows communication skills in presenting coherently and convincingly while taking into account modern presentation principles (C-1; C-2; C-3)

  • Experiences critical and challenging academic atmosphere in a modern research group. (L-2; L-3; L-4)

Mode of instruction

Lectures, self-study, work groups.
A pro-active behaviour is expected from the student.

Assessment Method

Each student will individually be assessed for (a) his/her paper presentation/journal club in week 2, (b) his/her written grant proposal , and (c) his/her grant presentation in week 4.

Formative assessment

  • Individual written and/or oral feedback by tutor

  • Feedback in interactive discussions by tutors and peers

  • Individual written and/or oral feedback by tutor on content and skill

Summative assessment

  • Research proposal

  • Oral literature presentation

  • Oral research proposal presentation

  • Student behaviour