The IBB is based in the Science Faculty and participates in the Bachelor’s curriculum Biological Sciences, the master programme Molecular and Cellular Live Sciences (MCLS), as well as in several other Master and Ph.D. programmes of the Utrecht Graduate School of Life Sciences.

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– Master programme Molecular and Cellular Life Sciences
Master Classes provided by the IBB
Graduate programs of the Graduate School of Life Sciences
QBio master and PhD program


Master programme Molecular and Cellular Life Sciences

The MCLS Master’s program is research-oriented and takes a multidisciplinary approach to molecules, cells and organisms. The program provides students with the expertise to optimally addres major scientific challenges and societal issues, such as human diseases and sustainable growth, as well as for innovative research in (plant) biotech industry.

Two types of theoretical courses are offered. Master classes are intended to broaden your knowledge within the field of Molecular and Cellular Life Sciences and during the master classes you will be trained in state-of-the-art techniques ranging from advanced methodologies in genetics, cell biology to structural biology and systems Biology. Courses and classes are offered by specialists from two associated research institues: the IBB and the Bijvoet Center.

An essential part of the master programme are two internships of 6 (minor) and 9 months (major). The IBB supports master students from the MCLS, from other master programs from the Graduate School of Life Sciences, as well as from other Dutch and international universities. If you are interested in performing an internship within one of the IBB groups, contact the PI responsible for the work you are interested in by e-mail.
Please have a look at the individual research projects on this website, the MCLS website and on the individual group websites. Please explain your background education, your preference for a minor (6 month) or major (9 month) research project, the anticipated starting date, and motivate your choice of group and project. You will receive an invitation from this PI to meet and discuss the research possibilities.


Master Courses

Part 1: Intracellular membrane processes- provided by IBB

Coordinator: Dr. C. Rabouille
IBB lecturers: Prof. dr. Anna Akhmanova
Dr. Lukas Kapitein
Prof. dr. Casper Hoogenraad
Prof. dr. Sander van den Heuvel

1. To know the main routes of membrane transport and rearrangement (secretion, exocytosis, endocytosis, autophagy, cytokinesis).
2. To know some of the most important cellular and biochemical techniques to investigate certain aspect of the intracellular membrane processes
3. To know how to critically read a research articles about intracellular membrane transport and rearrangement by

Part 2: Molecular recognition- provided by Bijvoet Center

Coordinator: Dr. Eric Huizinga

1. To understand how protein structure correlates with protein function in selected biological systems. To appreciate how (changes in) protein structure lead(s) to (changes in) protein interactions (= molecular recognition) and how molecular recognition enables regulation of biological processes at the molecular level.
2. To become familiar with various techniques, including NMR and X-ray crystallography, to investigate the structure of biological macromolecules and with methods to predict and measure their interactions.

Part 3: Membrane Biogenesis and Homeostasis- provided by Bijvoet Center

Coordinator: Dr. Toon de Kroon

1. To understand the dynamic properties of the macromolecular membrane system of a cell and how deregulation of membrane homeostasis leads to systemic failure and disease.
2.To appreciate how this knowledge provides a basis for the development of novel drugs to fight infections and cancer
3. To become familiar with various experimental approaches to investigate the dynamic properties of macromolecular membrane systems, ranging from yeast genetics to biophysical studies on model membranes.

Part 4: Systems Biology- provided by IBB

Coordinator: Dr. Guido van den Ackerveken (
IBB lecturers: Prof. dr. Rob de Boer
Dr. Berend Snel
Dr. Mike Boxem

1. To understand the concept of Systems Biology, understand methods for data generation, and approaches for data integration and modeling.
2. To know how to work with network motifs and understand how they can be applied in regulatory networks.


Master Classes provided by the IBB

Developmental Genetics

Program: Cancer, Genomics, and Developmental Biology, and Molecular and Cellular Life Sciences
Coordinator: Dr. Inge The (
IBB lecturers: Dr. Inge The
Prof. Dr. Sander van den Heuvel

The course is based on landmark articles, predominantly in the fields of fly and worm developmental genetics. We will discuss these papers as a group and meet with the researchers involved. The course aims to provide an understanding of basic concepts of developmental biology and genetic analysis. In addition, the course teaches a variety of skills that are important for every researcher, including critical reading and oral presentations.



Program: Molecular and Cellular Life Sciences
Coordinator: Dr. Margot Koster (
IBB lecturers: Prof. dr. Han Wösten
Dr. Luis Lugones

This course is an introduction in Biotechnology. It will not only give an overview of the different fields (DNA and protein technology; microbial biotechnology; bioremediation; plant biotechnology; vaccine development; stem cells; animal biotechnology; human genetics and forensics) but will also give in depth information of new developments. The overview presented in the course has some overlap with the “orientatiecursus Biotechnologie” which is given in the second year of the Biology programme. Attendance of lectures and seminars is compulsory.


Introduction to Bioinformatics for Molecular Biologists

Program: Multiple Master programs
Coordinator: Dr. Berend Snel (
IBB lecturers: Dr. Berend Snel

“Introduction to Bioinformatics for Molecular Biologists” is a joint course for the various life science Masters programs at the Utrecht University. This introductory course provides an overview of the importance of bioinformatics in various biological disciplines. While a biological background is required, no programming skills are needed. The course can be considered a general introduction to bioinformatics, with a focus on the research that is performed at Utrecht University. The theory and tools for bioinformatics provided are very useful for any life science researcher. The course will be partially theoretical with lectures taking up to 30% of the day while the major focus will be on working with various tools and datasets. These computer tasks are performed in groups of 2 students. The maximum number of participants for this course is 40 students. The course will be concluded on the last day with an exam that consists of normal pen-and-paper questions but also of tasks that should be completed on the computer. Active participation during the course provides sufficient preparation to complete the exam. Furthermore, follow-up courses are organized later in the year that will allow you to specialize in specific directions. Students are expected to be familiar with the subjects from this introductory course when participating in any of the follow-up courses.


Light Microscopy

Program: Molecular and Cellular Life Sciences
Coordinator: Dr. Lukas Kapitein (
IBB lecturers: Dr. Lukas Kapitein

Students will acquire basic and advanced knowledge on optical microscopy, with an emphasis on fluorescence microscopy. Four two-hour technology lectures will guide the students through the field of optical microscopy, covering a large array of topics ranging from fundamental principles of image formation and fluorescence to modern techniques such as superresolution microscopy (see detailed program).  Three one-hour applications lectures from different cell biologists/neuroscientists will demonstrate how these techniques can be employed to solve important biological problems. In addition, four afternoons will be devoted to hands-on practical work, during which students can directly see modern microscopy at work at state-of-the-art facilities.


Computational Biology

Program: Molecular and Cellular Life Sciences
Coordinator: Prof. dr. Paulien Hogeweg (
IBB lecturers: Prof. dr. Paulien Hogeweg

The aim of the course is to introduce the concepts, methods and techniques of bioinformatic research, as well as some of the theories on informatic processes in biological systems arising from this research. During the course, the emphasis will be on composing and analysing exact models based on specific hypotheses. The results of the analyses offer an understanding of the original biological system. The models studied address fundamental questions from a variety of biological fields.


Graduate programs of the Graduate School of Life Sciences

Members of the IBB teach courses in several of the graduate programs available within the Utrecht Graduate School of Life Sciences. Ph.D. students working in one of the IBB groups can join one of these graduate programs, depending on the main focus of the project.

The Institute of Biomembranes (IB)

The Institute of Biomembranes is an interdisciplinary research institute at Utrecht University, accommodating 16 research groups from the faculties of Science (Departments Biology and Chemistry), Medicine, and Veterinary Medicine.

The Ph.D. program is focused on the following three themes:

  • Structure, function and organization of lipids and proteins in biological membranes.
  • Biogenesis of membranes and the transport and sorting of lipids and proteins.
  • The role of biomembranes in signal transduction via membrane receptors, cell-cell-, and cell-matrix interactions.

Cancer, Genomics and Developmental Biology

The research school Cancer Genomics & Developmental Biology is part of the Utrecht Graduate School of Life Sciences and combines about 50 research groups from Utrecht University, the University Medical Center Utrecht and the Hubrecht Institute for Developmental Biology and Stem Cell Research.

The Ph.D. program focuses on understanding processes underlying cancer and developmental biology using techniques and applications of post-genomic research, including microarray analysis, SNP analysis, proteomics and microscopy. Students in this programme explore research questions concerning embryonic growth, stem cells, signaling pathways, gene regulation, evolution and development in relation to health and disease using various model systems.

Computational Life Sciences (CLS)

The main objective of the Computational Life Sciences PhD program is to train students to become excellent and independent researchers in Theoretical Biology and Bioinformatics, with solid expertise in modeling and bioinformatics, and a good interdisciplinary knowledge in the life sciences. All of the IBB groups participate in the computational life sciences program.

Molecular Life Sciences (MLS)

The Molecular Life Science programme, provided by the Bijvoet School, part of the Bijvoet Center for Biomolecular Research, aims to provide PhD students with a solid and broad knowledge of structural biochemistry. The programme provides research and training opportunities for PhD students interested in all areas of structural biology available in the Bijvoet Center: X-ray diffraction, mass spectrometry, proteomics, solid-state and liquid-state NMR, protein folding, membrane enzymology and lipidomics.