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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 to ensure a thorough understanding of the fundamentals of immunology.


The course introduces to the recent therapeutic advances that have emerged from the controlled manipulation of the immune system. Advances in the field of cancer-immunotherapy, cell-based therapies, and modern vaccinology will be discussed in one part of the course. The production and use of antibodies to treat disease and the chemical modifications of antibodies to attach drugs and other cargos to them will also be discussed. Overall, the aim of the course is to make students familiar with the most recent immune-based therapies from a molecular perspective. Due to the very 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.

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 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. These questions are an obligatory part of the course and not handing them in will mean exclusion from the final exam.

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/videos presented during the courses
Articles discussed and cited during the course
Question sets and their associated answers.


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.

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.


Prof. 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.