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Bioinorganic Catalysis (BIOC)


Admission requirements

Elective course MSc Chemistry, MSc Life Science and Technology
For students with a BSc in MST with a major in Chemistry or equivalent. Other candidates should have a solid background in coordination chemistry.


Enzymes are very efficient in activation of small molecules such as O2, N2, CO2 and H2O and redox reactions in general are run very efficiently in Nature. These processes are very important for the overall energy infrastructure of cells. In this course focus lies on how these catalytic reactions take place at the inorganic cofactors and how one can use the same design principles efficiently in artificial catalytic systems.

Topics that will be discussed include

  1. How Nature deals with Energy
  2. Coordination Chemistry of Natural Systems
  3. Electronic Structure & Frontier Orbitals
  4. Electrochemistry of Molecular Systems
  5. Electron Transfer in Enzymes
  6. Proton Coupled Electron Transfer in Enzymes and Molecular Systems
  7. Hydrogenases and Proton Reduction Catalysis
  8. The Oxygen Evolving Center of Photosystem II
  9. Molecular Water Oxidation Catalysts
  10. Oxygenases
  11. Oxidases
  12. Reactive Oxygen Species and how Nature deals with them
  13. Enzymes of the Carbon Cycle
  14. Enzymes of the Nitrogen Cycle

Course objectives

At the end of the course students:

  • will have knowledge of principles of coordination chemistry

  • will have knowledge of principles in bioinorganic chemistry

  • will have an overview of the applications of transition metal catalyzed redox reactions in enzymes

  • will have knowledge of principles in redox catalysis relevant to the conversion of solar energy into chemical fuels and vice versa.

  • will be able to construct tentative catalytic mechanisms also for reactions that were not discussed

  • can digest scientific articles related to this course from the literature

  • are able to predict the electronics and reactivity for a particular transition metal site based on its structure.


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

Lectures and exercises

Assessment method

Written exam

Reading list

"Inorganic Chemistry" by Weller, Overton, Rourke and Armstrong, 6th (ISBN 978-0-19964182-6) or 7th edition (ISBN 978-0-19-876812-8)
Scientific papers, lecture slides and exercises will be provided via Brightspace


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.


Dr. D. Hetterscheid


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.