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Medical Biotechnology


Admission requirements

The course is open for all students that are enrolled in the minor Molecular Biotechnology and who have followed the previous courses ‘Exploitation of Natural Products’ and ‘Biotechnology: from Gene to Bio-based Product’.

Contact information

Coordinator: Prof. Dr. A.H. Meijer and Dr. M.J.M. Schaaf
Email: or


The medical biotechnology course will provide a fascinating overview of how living cells and animal models are used to investigate and produce pharmaceutical and diagnostic products that help treat and prevent human diseases. This course will demonstrate how an integrated and multidisciplinary approach can yield critical new leads to our understanding of disease generation. By stimulating lectures from key players in the research field students will become familiar with the techniques, approaches and inventions leading to future generations of pharmaceuticals. The students will also receive lectures from specialists of companies in the Leiden Bio Science Park to show applications in biotechnology. Topics that will be covered include the drug discovery pipeline, vaccine development, biopharmaceuticals, transgenesis, gene therapy, stem cell therapy and tissue engineering.

Learning goals

Course objectives: Getting a broad understanding of the value of biomedical research for biotechnological applications. To see links with the fundamental research in biomedical sciences and industrial applications e.g. in the Leiden Bioscience Park.

Final qualifications:
Understanding of the state of the art in biomedical research areas, including drug and target discovery, vaccine development, biopharmaceuticals, transgenesis, gene therapy, stem cell research and tissue engineering. Insight into current limitations and future prospects of biotechnological applications in medicine. Ability to apply the knowledge gained in a literature research and powerpoint presentation about a relevant topic of choice.


From November 2022. Lectures by invited speakers and time for self-study on a daily basis. Participation in lectures is obligatory. The detailed schedule will be provided on Brightspace.

Mode of instruction

The course comprises a series of obligatory lectures provided by invited specialist speakers will be combined with self study from the following book: Medical Biotechnology, Pongracz and Keen, Churchill Livingstone (Elsevier). The students will have to prepare for the lectures by submitting online multiple choice tests.

Assessment method

Exam 60% (minimal grade 5.6), presentation 30% (minimal grade 6), average of the online tests 10% (minimal grade 6).

Inspection and feedback on the examination

By personal appointment with one of the course coordinators.


The course information, time table, test questions and powerpoint presentations of the lectures will be available via Brightspace.

Reading list

Obligatory book: Medical Biotechnology, Pongracz and Keen, Churchill Livingstone (Elsevier). This book is only available as e-book or second hand.


Register for this course via Usis

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