nl en

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 ‘Industrial Biotechnology and Plant Biotechnology.


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.

Course Objectives

After completion of the course, students are able to:  
1. Explain the principles and give definitions of commonly used terminology concerning the drug discovery pipeline, medicinal chemistry and pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics. 
2. Explain different biotechnological approaches to vaccine development and evaluation. 
3. Name different types of pharmaceutical drugs and explain how they are clinically applied. 
4. Explain methods for transgenesis or gene-editing to generate animal models for biotechnological research and the current state-of-the-art applications of gene editing for clinical use. 
5. Explain different approaches and molecular tools for ex vivo and in vivo gene therapy. 
6. Explain the principles and clinical application of stem cells and tissue engineering. 
7. Perform literature research into biotechnological strategies used to develop novel therapeutic approaches for a specific disease, assess their potential, and present conclusions regarding future development of novel therapies. 


From November. 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.

You will find the timetables for all courses and degree programmes of Leiden University in the tool MyTimetable (login). Any teaching activities that you have sucessfully registered for in MyStudyMap will automatically be displayed in MyTimeTable. Any timetables that you add manually, will be saved and automatically displayed the next time you sign in.

MyTimetable allows you to integrate your timetable with your calendar apps such as Outlook, Google Calendar, Apple Calendar and other calendar apps on your smartphone. Any timetable changes will be automatically synced with your calendar. If you wish, you can also receive an email notification of the change. You can turn notifications on in ‘Settings’ (after login).

For more information, watch the video or go the the 'help-page' in MyTimetable. Please note: Joint Degree students Leiden/Delft have to merge their two different timetables into one. This video explains how to do this.

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).

Reading list

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


From the academic year 2022-2023 on every student has to register for courses with the new enrollment tool MyStudyMap. There are two registration periods per year: registration for the fall semester opens in July and registration for the spring semester opens in December. Please see this page for more information. Exemptions are minor students and fall semester for 1st year bachelor students: the student administration will enroll these groups for courses.

Please note that it is compulsory to both preregister and confirm your participation for every exam and retake. Not being registered for a course means that you are not allowed to participate in the final exam of the course. Confirming your exam participation is possible until ten days before the exam.

Extensive FAQ's on MyStudymap can be found here.

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


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


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