Biomolecules and their properties are key factors in understanding processes inside cells. Or even in understanding life itself. Fundamental research in the life sciences is based on this knowledge.
In fact processes inside cells can only be understood after understanding what is happening between molecules. Why do water and alcohol mix, while water and oil do not mix? Models and theories derived to understand properties of these simple molecules can also be applied to more complex molecules like DNA and proteins. Or parts of proteins. From fundamental laws in chemical thermodynamics it becomes clear why reactions can take place or not. It all depends on the chemical potential of molecules under consideration which can be calculated from interactions in (bond energies) and between molecules The models that are used are not always simple. Therefore you need a thorough mathematical background.
To study molecules, all kinds of analytical methods are needed. Attention is given to the analysis of e.g. preservatives drugs, sugars and pollutants using a variety of chromatographic techniques and capillary electrophoresis. Structural analysis of organic compounds is carried out by using spectroscopy. Special emphasis is placed on the reactions in both nature and the laboratory of life's four major classes of biomolecules; nucleic acids, proteins, carbohydrates and lipids. Reaction mechanisms and stereochemistry are the central topics. In other words: what is the relation between the 3D configuration of molecules and their reactivity? With this knowledge one can design new molecules and ways to synthesise these molecules. It is e.g the basis to develop new medicines.
NOTE: This minor contains a course with a maximum number of students participants. If you want to follow this minor as a "Bijvak or "exchange" student make sure you also choose an alternative course (and register this course in the form). That way you have an alternative if you cannot participate in this course. The information on if a course has a maximum number of participants can be found via the overview of the courses in the minor.
After successful completion of this minor students are expected to be able to:
- clarify, explain, interpret and apply concepts from organic chemistry and chemical thermodynamics;
- apply concepts from chemistry and physics, handle and derive formulas, do calculations, analyse and solve theoretical problems in the fields organic chemistry, thermodynamics and spectroscopy;
- explain the relationships between structure and reactivity of biomolecules;
- apply scientific experimental methods in the various fields of chemical sciences;
- process, present and discuss collected data, both orally and in writing.
This minor is interesting for:
WU-students of the BSc programmes who seek a challenge
- BBT Biotechnology
- BBI Biology
- BPW Plant Sciences
- BLT Food Technology
- Also for students who are interested to prepare for the MSc Molecular Life Sciences
Language of Instruction
Dutch and English
First semester (period 1, 2 and 3)
Thematic or programme