Medical Biochemistry

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Medical Biochemistry

  • Host University

    Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

  • Location

    Amsterdam, The Netherlands

  • Area of Study


  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    General learning objectives/final objectives
    a. Knows the specific structure, function and role of the different metabolic molecules, cells and tissues/organs in the human body.
    b. Can explain the coherence of tissue morphology (histology), hormones (endocrinology) and metabolic pathways (biochemistry) in the proper functioning of humans as an integrated system.
    c. Understands the human reaction to acute or chronic changes in lifestyle (dieting, sports) and during disease.
    d. Can explain the underlying cause of tissue-specific effects of gene mutations.
    e. Understands the biochemical background and working mechanisms of several well-known lifestyle and nutrition-related substances and medicaments (cholesterol reducing agents, aspirin).

    Educational track “Mathematic modeling” in Biomedical Sciences:
    The student:
    - knows how the speed equation for a particular enzyme, that is influenced by effectors, is built up mathematically, can qualitatively
    predict the behavior of an enzyme based on this equation and can produce graphs that reflect this behavior.
    - can construct a qualitative reasoning that explains the behavior of a network by means of simulations of a metabolic network that is built up from connected speed equations.

    Educational track “Scientific thinking and conducting research”:
    The student:
    - master the laboratory skills to isolate, fractionate and quantitatively determine the levels of glucose, lipids and proteins in blood.
    - is able to describe these laboratory experiments in a lab journal and to draw the correct conclusions from the described results.
    - is able to recognize some human tissues under the microscope, and to correlate their coherence in form and function.

    This course builds on the general biochemical fundament of year 1 from the courses “Biochemistry” (Biomedical Sciences) and “Building blocks of Life” (Health and Life sciences).
    This course aims to teach the students about:
    a. the human metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and lipids (sugars, amino acids, lipids and nucleotides) and the accompanying digestion, molecular processes and mechanisms of regulation.
    b. how in the human body various organs and tissues play specialized roles in metabolism (intestine, liver, kidney and lungs).
    c. how this metabolic system enables healthy people to adequately respond to changes in behavior (diet, lifestyle, sport, stress).
    d. how pathological changes can be caused by genetic disorders or by lifestyle and environmental factors (obesity, alcohol, anorexia, infections).
    e. how many common conditions can be diagnosed in body fluids (clinical chemistry) and treated with some generic drugs (cholesterol reducing agents, aspirin, antacids) to illustrate the underlying biochemical processes and metabolic pathways in sick and healthy people.
    f. the concept of metabolic pathways, their regulation by metabolites and hormones and the mathematical modeling of these pathways.

    1. Lectures (28 hours).
    2. Practical assignments: modeling, histology and biochemistry (22 hours).
    3. Study groups biochemistry + preparation (18 hours)
    4. Self-study/literature (100 hours)

    The summative examination will comprise 2 closed, digital (partial) examinations (week 4 and week 8, multiple choice and more complex
    question forms). Average grade should be >5,50 to pass the course. One resit will be given per year. This resit comprises all the study material.

    Biochemistry (BMS) or Building blocks of Life(Health and Life sciences).

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Some courses may require additional fees.


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