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Course module: BMB459007
Signalling and Techniques in I&I
Course info
Course codeBMB459007
ECTS Credits4.5
Category / LevelM (Master)
Course typeCourse
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byFaculty of Medicine; Graduate School of Life Sciences; Infection and Immunity;
Contact personprof. P.J. Coffer
prof. P.J. Coffer
Other courses by this lecturer
Contactperson for the course
prof. P.J. Coffer
Other courses by this lecturer
Teaching period
MASTER  (20/08/2018 to 17/08/2019)
Teaching period in which the course begins
Time slot-: Not in use
Study mode
RemarkAdmittance only in exceptional cases for GSLS students with an internship in the field of signalling. Max 30
Course application processadministratie onderwijsinstituut
Enrolling through OSIRISNo
Enrolment open to students taking subsidiary coursesNo
Waiting listNo
Course placement processadministratie onderwijsinstituut
Learning goals:
At the conclusion of this course the student is able to understand and describe the major mechanisms of cell/cell signaling in mammals. This includes being able to discuss the molecular events which occur within the cell in response to the major groups of signaling molecules and the overall physiological outcomes. More specifically this incorporates the following issues:
  1. describe how important protein sequence is to function;
  2. describe the mechanism of action of the major functional groups of signaling molecules;
  3. outline the major receptor types, their localization and function in response to the signaling molecules indicated in the point above;
  4. discuss signal transduction events occurring in immunology, such as in response to pathogens, cytokines & self peptides;
  5. describe development and function of the innate and adaptive immune systems in terms of signal transduction;
  6. describe the fundamentals of core immunological methods and techniques covered by the course; spectroscopy, bioseparations, probes, biomolecule characterisation.
  7. outline the merits and limitations of each of the aforementioned techniques in studying biological objects and biomolecules;
  8. develop a knowledge of how defects in key cellular functions can cause major immunological diseases;

  1. compare and contrast experimental techniques;
  2. perform rational design of a biochemical experiment, document and present expected experimental data;
  3. demonstrate use of internet resources, textbooks to find up to date information on related topics;
  4. quantitate information stored in biological sequences;
  5. use NCBI resources, such as Entrez and PubMed; read and interpret GenBank format;
  6. perform simple comparative sequence analysis, such as frequency and compositional analysis;
  7. perform sequence similarity searches using BLAST;
  8. source, review, critically assess and evaluate original scientific literature relevant to a signal transduction topic;
  9. demonstrate oral and presentation skills for scientific communication;
  10. review the principles and application of the scientific method;
  11. outline the principles of good experimental design;
  12. describe how simple models can be applied to understand the complexities of cell function;
  13. source, review, critically assess and evaluate scientific literature relevant to an independent project;

  1. demonstrate a critical attitude towards experimental design;
  2. interact constructively in discussions with fellow students;
  3. critically evaluate literature;
  4. clearly present own data in both written and presentation formats.
Period (from – till): 17 June 2019 - 8 July 2019
Please note that the exam will take place on the Monday following the course weeks!

Course coordinator:  Prof. Paul Coffer

Prof. Paul Coffer (course content)
Dr. David Hall (course content)
Dr. Kristin Denzer (course registration)

Course description
Cell signalling is part of a complex system of communication that governs basic cellular activities and coordinates cell actions. The ability of cells to perceive and correctly respond to their microenvironment is the basis of development, tissue repair, and immunity as well as normal tissue homeostasis. Errors in cellular information processing are responsible for diseases such as cancer, autoimmunity, and diabetes. By understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying cell signalling, it is possible to develop novel therapies for a wide variety of diseases.
Cells receive information from their environment through a class of proteins known as receptors. The information is then processed through signalling pathways and decoded in the nucleus. Cell signalling research involves studying the spatial and temporal dynamics of both receptors and the components of signalling pathways to determine what parts are actually present in a given cell, where the parts are located, and what the parts are doing.
Regulation of immune system functioning is extremely complex and involves communication between multiple cell types through a plethora of cellular receptors. This can be mediated by cell-cell contact or release of soluble factors, such as cytokines, but ultimately results in changes in immune cell production and function. This course aims to develop a molecular understanding of the fundamental intracellular signalling process regulated through diverse cell surface immune receptors. Furthermore, state-of-the-art techniques will be discussed as well as how they can be applied to studying these processes in immune cells.

Literature/study material used:
Review articles
Useful book for self-study (not mandatory):
Alberts, Molecular Biology of the Cell
Gomperts, Signal Transduction
Automatically after acceptance to programme
Other students apply via the studyguide.
Prof. Paul Coffer (course content)
I&I Secretariat (course registration & Osiris)
Mandatory for students in own Master’s programme:
Optional for students in other GSLS Master’s programme:
Admittance only in exceptional cases for students with an internship in the field of signalling.
Prerequisite knowledge:
Molecular cell biology incl. principles of signalling and underlying biochemical understanding of interactions - equivalent to BMW bachelor courses Cellen, Signaaltransductie (or Biomembranen).
Entry requirements
Prerequisite knowledge
Molecular cell biology incl. principles of signalling and underlying biochemical understanding of interactions - equivalent to BMW bachelor courses Cellen, Signaaltransductie (or Biomembranen).
Required materials
Instructional formats
Core lecture

Guest lecture


Master class



Final result
Test weight100
Minimum grade5.5

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