Specialisation Biological Chemistry

The focus of Biological Chemistry is on the (bio)chemical properties of molecules in living systems. To achieve understanding of these systems, principles of chemistry, biology and bioinformatics are combined. Examples are molecular regulation of growth and cell differentiation, signal transduction, the transfer of genetic traits, enzymology and interactions in biological systems. This research can both take place in vivo and in vitro and in many model organisms, like plants, micro-organisms, animals and humans.

Research example

SOSEKI_MML

The image shows results from an ongoing project at the chairgroup of Biochemistry, in which cell polarity of plants is studied. In order for multicellular organisms to develop correctly, it is crucial for cells ‘to know’ their orientation within the organism. The SOSEKI proteins function as a compass in the cell, by localizing in specific corners. This was visualised by tagging SOSEKI proteins in vivo with YFP. Furthermore, the 3D structure was obtained by X-RAY Diffraction, which showed that the protein can polymerize. This is a good example of how an interdisciplinary approach can answer fundamental biological questions.

Courses

For this specialization, you need to choose at least two deepening courses, however you can always choose more if you want to. All details can be found in the study handbook, but some characteristic courses of this specialization are shortly explained below:

Advanced Methods in Biochemical Research

In this research methods course offered by the chair group of Biochemistry, you will perform multiple experiments on fluorescent proteins. The scope of the first part of the course is to quantitatively determine several physical properties of fluorescent proteins by using steady-state fluorescence spectroscopy, time-resolved fluorescence anisotropy, fluorescence fluctuation spectroscopy and absorption spectroscopy to measure signals from the purified fluorescent proteins. In addition to the fluorescence spectroscopy measurements, mass spectrometry will be performed on the same protein samples in order to identify and study relative quantitative amounts of proteins present.

Control of Cellular Processes and Cell Differentiation

Biochemical and molecular (cell) biology research has resulted in new insights in the strategies cells use to regulate their processes. These molecular concepts will be discussed in this course. This includes the biochemistry of regulatory strategies of cellular processes, the biochemistry of signal-transducing pathways and the human sensory systems. With vast growing amounts of data at hand, one of the most important challenges in biology is a more synthetic approach to understand connections between a cell’s building blocks, which will be extensively discussed.

Furthermore, an introduction will be given in several innovative light microscopic techniques (FRAP, FRET) and with the help of a digital case a more mathematical background of the mechanisms that drive the cell cycle will be explained.

BioNanoTechnology: Nanomedicine

This course offered by the chairgroup of Bionanotechnology, will focus on applications of nanomaterials in medicinal applications. This course focuses on biomedical applications from in vitro and in vivo diagnostics, to in vivo multimodal diagnostic, therapeutic and theranostic applications. Various types of solid and soft nanoparticle systems, that act as host material or scaffolds used for biomedical applications, will be described. In the practical part illustrative experiments are executed for preparation and characterization of nanomaterials, (bio)chemically functionalized solid and soft nanoparticles, coordination polymers and devices.

Thesis Research Groups

The MSc thesis forms the core of your specialization, reflected in the value of 36 ECTS. Your thesis will be part of the research of one of the chair groups of Wageningen University. The research groups that offer thesis projects within this specialization are listed below, and you can get more details on their respective websites.

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