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Graduate courses

Departments' graduate courses for PhD-students.


Course syllabus for

Academic year
KBB101 - Biochemical toxicology
Biokemisk toxikologi
Course syllabus adopted 2021-02-09 by Head of Programme (or corresponding)
Owner: MPBIO
7,5 Credits
Grading: TH - Pass with distinction (5), Pass with credit (4), Pass (3), Fail
Education cycle: Second-cycle
Main field of study: Bioengineering

Teaching language: English
Application code: 08123
Open for exchange students: Yes
Maximum participants: 24

Module   Credit distribution   Examination dates
Sp1 Sp2 Sp3 Sp4 Summer course No Sp
0114 Examination 7,5 c Grading: TH   7,5 c   27 Oct 2022 pm J,  03 Jan 2023 am J,  18 Aug 2023 am J

In programs

MPBIO BIOTECHNOLOGY, MSC PROGR, Year 1 (compulsory elective)


Malin Celander

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General entry requirements for Master's level (second cycle)
Applicants enrolled in a programme at Chalmers where the course is included in the study programme are exempted from fulfilling the requirements above.

Specific entry requirements

English 6 (or by other approved means with the equivalent proficiency level)
Applicants enrolled in a programme at Chalmers where the course is included in the study programme are exempted from fulfilling the requirements above.

Course specific prerequisites

Undergraduate profile: Major in Bio Engineering, Chemical engineering, Chemistry or Biology with courses in chemistry, biochemistry, cell and molecular biology.


The aim of the course is to provide an in-depth knowledge in the areas of general, biochemical and molecular toxicology as applied to eukaryotes and vertebrates in particular. The main aim focuses on mechanisms of action of toxic substances including pharmaceuticals, and other everyday-chemicals as well as environmental effects. In addition, the course aims to give a more general overview of other areas in biochemical toxicology. The course is suitable for students with a specialization towards the pharmaceutical and food industry, environment-related industry and the public sector.

Learning outcomes (after completion of the course the student should be able to)

  • Know how environmental pollutants/substances/pharmaceuticals are activated metabolically (cytochrome P450), as well as which elimination systems that exist and which specific enzymes that are involved and their biochemical and regulatory properties.
  • Be familiar with genotoxicity, and techniques and test methods for quantitating genotoxicity.
  • Know the role of free radicals and radical-generating toxic substances, as well as their roles in toxicity and disease.
  • Be familiar with organ-specific toxicity, especially neurotoxicity.
  • Know about mechanisms of cellular aging processes, carcinogenesis and factors influencing toxicity.
  • Be knowledgeable about basic pharmacokinetics and risk evaluation of chemicals.
  • Be able to use molecular detoxification systems for the detection and assessment of environmental pollutants using vertebrate cells in culture.


The course describes effects caused by industrial and other human activities on the different life forms in the environment, primarily mammals including human, and gives insights into cellular and molecular aspects of the effects of environmental pollutants in other vertebrates such as fish. The course provides insight in absorption, metabolism and excretion of toxic substances including pharmaceuticals as well as other everyday chemicals that are environmental pollutants. The course provides insight in the molecular mechanisms of action of anthropogenic chemicals, as well as the basic molecular biological response mechanisms following an exposure to toxic substances in animals. The course contains the following parts: Function and regulation of phase I (activation) enzymes, phase II (conjugation) enzymes and phase III (efflux) detoxification Cytochrome P450-dependent drug interactions and chemosensitizers Genotoxicity Oxidative stress - free radicals, their generation and inactivation Different stages of carcinogenesis Cellular aging processes at the biochemical level Neurotoxicity Nanoparticles and their toxicity Pharmacokinetics Risk-evaluation of chemicals Biomonitoring in the aquatic environment Study design, lab-study combined with literature assignment and presented at a symposium by the end of the course Induction of cytochrome P450 in cultured cells Chemical interactions on cytochrome P450 and efflux activities in cultured cells


The course includes about 30 lectures (each 45 min) given predominantly by research specialists predominantly from the university and the industry. There are some topics such as the cytochrome P450 system, oxidative stress, carcinogenesis and neurotoxicity that covered by series, of about 4-8 lectures each, to provide a more in-debt knowledge in biochemical toxicity. Other topics are presented on a more general basis as a "smorgasbord", of about 2 lectures each, to provide an introduction to different areas of biochemical toxicology both from a human and from an environmental point of view.
Exercise: The exercise is a case study using transcriptomic data.
Seminar: The seminar focuses on scientific misconduct and deviation from good research practice.
The laboratory exercises focus on cellular techniques and regulation of detoxification systems which involves cultures of a vertebrate cell-line, exposure to chemicals in vitro in single exposure studies and mixture exposure studies.

Interactions of pharmaceuticals and other everyday-chemical chemicals alone and in mixture will be investigated on key biochemical detoxification mechanisms (e.g. cytochrome P450, efflux, oxidative stress, cytotoxicity) using fluorescent probes.
The laboratory exercise involves study design, cell culturing, cell exposure and analyses and is combined with a literature study that will all be presented at a symposium by the end of the course. The presentation includes writing an abstract and preparing slides for on oral presentation.


Research papers (review articles and original research papers) Lecture handouts Laboratory methods Recommended reference literature: Ernest Hodgson and Robert C. Smart: Introduction to Biochemical Toxicology, Fourth Edition, A John Wiley and sons inc., publication 2008.

Examination including compulsory elements

The examination is based on a written exam, grades 1-5, and approved laboratory exercises combined with literature study.

The course examiner may assess individual students in other ways than what is stated above if there are special reasons for doing so, for example if a student has a decision from Chalmers on educational support due to disability.

Page manager Published: Thu 04 Feb 2021.