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Molecules of Life (MOL)


This biennial course will not be given in 2020-21. Shown below is the course description for 2019-20 as reference.

Elective course MSc Chemistry and MSc Life Science and Technology

Molecules of Life

This course evolves around the synthesis of the naturally occurring biopolymers: carbohydrates, peptides, nucleic acids and hybrids thereof. These biopolymers play vital roles in life as we know it, and the course will teach how we can assemble well-defined fragments of these and apply these to answer biological questions and in therapeutic agents. Protecting group methodology and coupling strategies will be presented. Recent articles on these subjects will be discussed.

Course objectives

After the course the student should be able to:

  • Know the name, structure, one letter code of all proteinogenic amino acids;

  • Be able to design a chemoselective protecting group scheme for all amino acids;

  • Know the most common peptide coupling reagents;

  • Design a synthesis for a small peptide sequence;

  • Understand conformational behavior of carbohydrates;

  • Understand the reactivity of the different functional groups on a carbohydrate;

  • Be able to design a protecting group scheme to site-selectively mask the functional groups in a carbohydrate building block;

  • Understand the basics of glycosylation chemistry and factors influencing the stereochemical outcome of glycosylation chemistry;

  • Design a synthesis route for a (simple) oligosaccharide;

  • Understand phosphorous (III and V) chemistry;

  • Understand modern DNA and RNA chemistry;

  • Be able to design a route of synthesis for an oligonucleotide;

  • Combine peptide/carbohydrate and nucleic acid chemistry to synthesize hybrid structures.


Handouts and papers from current literature.
Amino Acid & Peptide Synthesis, John Jones, 2nd edition, ISBN: 9780199257386

Assessment method

Written exam (“closed book”)

Expected Background

Basic knowledge of organic chemistry (BSc in Chemistry, Molecular Science and Technology, Life Science and Technology or a related discipline).

About the lecturers

Jeroen Codee Dima Filippov


Register for this course via uSis