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Chemical Biology (CB)


Core course in MSc Chemistry – Chemical Biology, elective course MSc Chemistry, MSc Life Science and Technology


Students with a BSc in MST or LST; basic knowledge of organic chemistry, biochemistry and biomolecular chemistry is required.


Chemical biology is a new interdisciplinary research field in which questions intrinsically rooted in biology are approached with solutions inherent to chemistry. Aim of this course is to provide an overview – based on original research papers – of the development of chemical biology research in the past 15 years, dating back to the early days of chemical biology research. Main focus is on organic chemistry in relation to biological research: the design and application of organic molecules for biological research, and making use of the organic chemistry properties of biomolecules in their study and manipulation. It should be noted that there are many chemistry disciplines (analytical chemistry, inorganic chemistry, structural chemistry to name a few) that contribute to chemical biology and thus the examples discussed here are by no means all encompassing. Organic chemistry, or the design of bioactive organic molecules, is the expertise of the bioorganic synthesis group and thus one of the focus areas of the Leiden chemical biology research. In this course this will be exemplified by case studies on examples from recent literature. The course serves to provide students with a general overview of the field, the advances made in chemical biology research and the challenges ahead of us. The course will also provide insight in the chemical biology research conducted at Leiden University.
Students that have successfully completed this course:

  • Will have knowledge of general strategies and the organic chemistry design behind chemical biology research

  • will be able to make an independent analysis of scientific problems

  • Will be able to analyze and interpret relevant specialist literature

  • Will be able to formulate verifiable hypotheses

  • will be able to critically reflect chemical biology research

  • will be able to interrelate and integrate various areas of chemical biology research

Mode of instruction

In this course, which consists of 9 lectures, two or three original research papers on a specific topic will be discussed. Students are asked to read these prior to the lectures.


Chemical Biology, Herbert Waldmann and Petra Janning, Editors, Wiley, Fall 2014 and handouts (relevant publications)

Assessment method

Written exam


Schedule information can be found on the website of the programmes.


Register for this course via uSis