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Chemical Biology, Signal Transduction and Targeted Therapy


Admission requirements

  • Basic understanding of chemistry and signal transduction mechanisms (Biomedical Sciences Bachelor courses Biomolecules, Cellular Communication, and Molecular Biology and Oncology).

  • Alberts B. et al, Molecular Biology of the Cell, 6th ed Garland.

  • Weinberg RA, The Biology of Cancer, Garland Science, Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. Chapters 5 and 6.

  • Successful completion of 3120321PPY (How to write a research proposal) is strongly recommended.


Period: 25 October 2021 - 19 November 2021
Chemistry-based diagnostic and therapeutic targeting approaches for human diseases will be studied, in particular disorders associated with misregulated signal transduction, protein degradation and ubiquitination. In addition, drug-design and identification and functional characterization of the targets of novel diagnostic and therapeutic molecules will be discussed.

This four week course aims to take you through the successive steps of how chemical and cell biological techniques are used for the development of diagnostic and/or therapeutic molecules to be used in targeted clinical applications.

NB The exact program (possible/allowed on line and/or on campus events) will depend on the Covid19 regulations. At the moment we anticipate predominantly on line teaching, because of the 1.5m rule.

In the first weeks you will get an introduction into the aims of the course (what is signal transduction? what is targeted therapy? which chemical tools (e.g the ubiquitination toolbox) are available and (being) developed). We also intend to offer lectures on different aspects of translational research (chemistry, drug discovery and development, molecular imaging, genetic approaches, animal models, examples of deregulated signal transduction in human disorders). As a complementary, pro-active self-study approach, each student will in the first 2 weeks read, and discuss in the group, a series of highly relevant, ‘classical’ and ‘state-of-the art’ research papers and reviews, and give 2 (PowerPoint) presentations on these papers in week 1 and 2.

As follow-up, couples of 2 students will under supervision of one of the course coordinators write a grant proposal on a topic discussed in week 2. In this grant proposal a specific molecule/target/process will be proposed for drug/clinical development. The 2 students will discuss their ideas on this for peer review with the other students at the end of week 3. In the beginning of week 4 (Monday and Tuesday) each couple will present and discuss a first version of this grant proposal (PowerPoint). The last day (Friday week 4) they have to submit the (final) written grant proposal. The last day we will also have to evaluate the course, and discuss the preparation of the evaluation report.

The graded assignments are: (1) the literature presentation on the grant proposal topic in week 2; (2) the presentation of the preliminary grant proposal in week 4; (3) the final written grant proposal submitted at the last day of the course.

Course objectives

The student:

  • Shows and applies understanding of signal transduction and cellular communication in normal and pathological systems at the molecular level.

  • Develops treatment strategies of human diseases, focusing on chemistry-based diagnostic and therapeutic targeted approaches.

  • Is able to substantiate conclusions independently with relevant literature and/or data.

  • Considers, depending on the topic, possible social and ethical implications in developed treatment strategies and conclusions.

  • Shows communication skills in presenting coherently and convincingly while taking into account modern presentation principles.

  • Experiences critical and challenging academic atmosphere in a modern research group.


All course and group schedules are published on our LUMC scheduling website or on the LUMC scheduling app.

Mode of instruction

Lectures, self-study, work groups. A pro-active behaviour is expected from the student.

Assessment Method

Each student will be assessed for (a) his/her paper presentation/journal club in week 2, (b) the written grant proposal, and (c) his/her grant presentation in week 4.

Formative assessment

  • Individual written and/or oral feedback by tutor

  • Feedback in interactive discussions by tutors and peers

  • Individual written and/or oral feedback by tutor on content and skill

Summative assessment

  • Research proposal

  • Oral literature presentation

  • Oral research proposal presentation

  • Student behaviour

Reading list

Will be distributed during the course.


Registration for FOS courses, H2W, Scientific Conduct, Course on Lab Animal Sciences and CRiP takes place in lottery rounds in the beginning of July. After the lottery rounds: if you want to register for a course you are kindly asked to contact the student administration at