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Chemical Tools in Life Sciences


Admission requirements

This course is an Honours Class and therefore in principle only available to students of the Honours College. There are a few places available for regular students.


Research at the forefront of life sciences is of high importance for our future. Living organisms are largely determined by chemistry and logically tools studying life are mainly chemical ones. Chemists can synthesize biomolecules and analyze biological processes at molecular or even atomic scale. Within our Cell Observatory, fundamental and disease-related processes are imaged in organisms and cells by means of chemical probes. Our various chemistry approaches in the life sciences contribute to a fundamental understanding of living systems and the development of novel biomedicals and pharmaceuticals. The honours class “Chemical tools in life sciences” will discuss, demonstrate and provide hands-on experiments illustrating the various aspects of the LIC chemistry-driven research within the exiting field of life sciences

Course objectives


Mondays; 20, 27 March, 3, 10, 24 April, 1, 8, 15, 22 May 2017; 16:30 – 18:15 hrs.


Leiden Institute of Chemistry (Faculty of Science), Einsteinweg 55, Leiden, GORLAEUS LAB (old building), Room C7.


Session 1: Monday March 20, 16.30-18.15 – Prof dr Mathieu Noteborn
Apoptin killing cancer cells: The magic bullet?

Session 2: Monday March 27, 16.30-18.15 – Prof dr Marcellus Ubbink
Spins & spinning proteins

Session 3: Monday April 3, 16.30-18.15 – Prof dr Hans Aerts
Cellular and chemical studies in lysosomal storage diseases

Session 4: Monday April 10, 16.30-18.15 – Dr Bobby Florea
Catching enzymes in the act

Session 5: Monday April 24, 16.30-18.15 – Prof dr Herman Spaink
Morpholinos: Zebrafish as an ideal disease model

Session 6: Monday May 1, 16.30-18.15 – Dr Sylvestre Bonnet
Light relief in anticancer therapy: photoactivatable metal-based prodrugs

Session 7: Monday May 8, 16.30-18.15 – Dr Roxanne Kieltyka
Biomaterials in medical applications

Session 8: Monday May 15, 16.30-18.15 – Dr Mario van der Stelt
Medicinal Marijuana: inspiration for drug discovery

Session 9: Monday May 22, 16.30-19.00 – Prof dr Brouwer & prof dr Mathieu Noteborn
Presentations by the students and epilogue

Course Load

This course is worth 5 EC, which means the total course load equals 140 hours.

Assessment method

  • 20% Presentation during final meeting

  • 80% Final essay of 1500-2000 words

Blackboard and uSis

Blackboard will be used in this course. Students can register for the Blackboard site two weeks prior to the start of the course.

Please note: students are not required to register through uSis for the Honours Classes. Your registration will be done centrally.

Reading list

To be announced.


Enrolling in this course is possible from Monday November 7th until Sunday November 20th through the Honours Academy, via this link


Prof. dr. Jaap Brouwer
Prof. dr. Mathieu H.M. Noteborn