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Molecular Cell Biology (MCB)


Admission requirements

Core course for MSc Chemistry – Chemical Biology.
For students with a BSc MST or equivalent. The course will give an overview on the basic principles in molecular cell biology.
This course is not suitable for students with a BSc LST or equivalent. This courses replaces the courses Molecular Biology (MB, 4423MOLBI) and Cell Biology (CEB, 4423CELBI), taught until the academic year 2019-20. Molecular Cell Biology cannot be included in the final examination together with Molecular Biology, Cell Biology or both.


The course introduces the students to the principles of cell biology and Molecular biology. It will start with the fundamental principles of cell-chemistry and biosynthesis for both prokaryotic and eukaryotic species. The role and control/regulation of gene expression, including epigenetics and cell signaling, in relation to cellular diversity in multicellular organisms will discussed in detail. As will be the role of sub-cellular compartments or organellar structures, together with the systems cells use to target proteins to those structures and how post-translational modifications of proteins influence these cellular pathways.
Besides these basics with regard to cell and molecular biology also systems/techniques that can be used to study all these processes will presented. All these aspects of molecular cell biology are being discussed in relation to diseases that results from derailment of these processes, including some potential therapeutic options. The overall goal is that the student will develop an understanding of the importance of knowledge regarding cellular pathways in order to intervein in these in case of a disease.

Course objectives

At the end of the course students:

  • Will have general knowledge of fundamental principles in Molecular Biology and Cell Biology

  • Will have knowledge of the fundamental principles in control of gene expression

  • Will have an overview of the applications of Molecular Biology as a tool to study disease states

  • Will have knowledge of the fundamental principles of molecular derailments causing diseases

  • Can digest and present a summary of a scientific article from the literature

  • Will be able to write abstracts and mini reviews dealing with Molecular Biology and Cell Biology


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 instructions in scientific writing

Assessment method

Writing of two scientific essays/mini reviews (70%) and a (group) presentation (30%)

Reading list

Molecular Biology of the Cell, Seventh Edition. By Bruce Alberts et al.
ISBN-13: 978-0393884821
ISBN-10: 0393884821
Slides presented during the courses


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. Rolf Boot


Assignment deadlines are communicated via Brightspace.

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.