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Chemical Immunology (CHI)


Admission requirements

Core course in MSc Life Science and Technology, elective course in MSc Chemistry
For students with a BSc MST, LST, BFW or equivalent. The students are expected to have a background in biochemistry, basic cell biology and organic synthesis. Prior to the start of the course, the students will need to read the first six chapters of ‘How The Immune System Works’ by Lauren Sompayrac.


The course introduces to the principles of chemical immunology. The course discusses recent advances in the field of immunology to which chemistry and chemical biology are making a significant contribution. The course will first discuss the production and use of antibodies to treat disease and the chemical modifications of antibodies to attach drugs and other cargos to them. The second major topic will be the recent developments in in immune therapies and the novel ways in which the immune system can be harnessed to fight cancer. The final topics are vaccine design in relation to the rapid development of anti-viral vaccines that is taking place at the moment. Both prophylactic and therapeutic vaccinations will be discussed. Overall, the aim of the course is to make students familiar with frontline chemical immunology. Due to the fast moving nature of the field, the course will be taught as a combination of lectures as well as the discussion of recent literature. The student is expected to develop the ability to critically assess primary literature sources.

Course objectives

At the end of the course students

  • will have knowledge of fundamental principles of immunology;

  • will have knowledge of antibody therapeutic production, methods of action and applications of these therapeutic agents;

  • will have knowledge of cancer immune therapies, such as checkpoint inhibitors, T-cell therapies, T-cell chimera

  • will have knowledge of the essential components of both prophylactic and therapeutic vaccines

  • will have developed the ability to read and assess primary chemical immunology literature


Schedule information can be found on the website of the programmes.

Mode of instruction

The course will be taught through a series of lectures/lecture videos followed by a tutorial session for which a set of questions will have to be made each week.

Assessment method

Final written exam (100%)

Reading list

The course is based on the following book: ‘How the immune system works’ by Lauren Sompayrac, 5th edition or later. ISBN-13: 978-1119542124, Wiley-Blackwell Publishers
Slides presented during the courses
Articles discussed and cited during the course


Register for this course via uSis


Dr. Sander van Kasteren


According to OER article 4.8, students are entitled to view their marked examination for a period of 30 days following the publication of the results of a written examination. Students should contact the lecturer to make an appointment for such an inspection session.