Exemplary curriculum of the biochemistry master

Semester

Basic and elective courses

Methods courses

Lab rotations

1

Lecture “Advanced Biochemistry” (5 CP)

Structural Biology (5 CP)

Structural Biology (15 CP)

2

Lecture “Advanced Biochemistry” (5 CP)

Elective course in the area of Biochemistry (10 CP)

Molecular Biology (5 CP)

Molecular Biology (15 CP)

3

Elective course of choice (10 CP)

Molecular Medicine (5 CP)

Molecular Medicine (15 CP)

4

Master thesis including presentation and defense

Lecture series “Advanced Biochemistry” (10 credit points)

The major categories of the lecture series (RNA biochemistry, Protein biochemistry, Membrane biochemistry, Signal transduction) are represented by the members of the biochemistry faculty of Freie Universität Berlin and several associated members from major research hubs in Berlin such as the Leibniz institute of Molecular Pharmacology, the Max-Delbrück-Center for Molecular Medicine or the Charité. The curriculum comprises areas of ongoing research such as protein dynamics, post-transcriptional regulation of mRNA expression, membrane remodeling with a focus on neurobiology and signal transduction in the field of chronobiology, immunobiology or bone morphogenesis.

In addition to the mandatory basic lecture, a number of specialized lecture series are offered as elective courses (see below).

Methods courses (5 credit points for per 2 week course; 3 courses required)

These courses are designed as hands-on practical experience for gaining advanced technical skills. These courses are full-time assignments with a high supervisor to student ratio (typically 1-3 tutors for 6 students). Practical work is flanked by 45-90 minutes/day seminars that provide further aspects of the technology and also require the active participation of students, typically in form of a journal club or discussion of results at the end of the respective course. The following courses are currently being offered:

  • Biomolecular X-ray crystallography
  • Advanced X-ray crystallography
  • Biological NMR spectroscopy
  • Quantitative fluorescence microscopy
  • Biophysical methods
  • Protein engineering
  • Nucleic acid technology
  • Protein analysis and microsequencing
  • Bioanalytical mass spectrometry and proteomic analysis
  • Alternative splicing and protein-RNA interaction
  • Molecular cell biology
  • Membrane protein expression in cell-free systems
  • Production and biophysical analysis of selected membrane proteins
  • Cell biology and signal transduction
  • Molecular pharmacology and cellular signal transduction
  • Analyzing musculoskeletal development in vivo
  • Self-replicating protein particles in neurodegenerative diseases

Lab rotations with examination (15 credit points, 3 appointments required)

Here, students are offered the unique opportunity to perform extended projects in a laboratory of their choice amongst the FU-affiliated and approved institutions in Berlin, Germany or internationally. At the end of these rotations the results are presented in a 15 minute talk followed by an oral examination of 30 minutes.

Lab rotations without examination (5-10 credit points)

These are individual research projects of varying length. They can be performed in preparation of a master thesis, as industry projects or in the form of an elective course.

Elective courses (20 credit points)

This part of the curriculum can be filled with methods modules, lab rotations or practical work in a research institute of the student’s choice. Half of the credit points require to be performed in the area of biochemistry while the other half can be obtained in other areas (soft skill courses, scientific writing, teaching etc.).

Master thesis

Six month research projects that complete the master studies and should prove the ability of students to independently perform and defend a research project.