Course syllabus


KBB101 Biochemical Toxicology lp1 HT21 (7.5 hp)

The course is offered by the department of Biology and Environmental Science (BioEnv) at the University of Gothenburg

Contact details

Course Convener and Examiner: Professor Malin Celander 031-786 3693, Medicinaregatan 18A P.O. Box 463, 405 30 Göteborg

Course purpose

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, emphasizing mechanisms of action of toxic substances including pharmaceuticals, as well as environmental effects.

In addition, the course gives 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.




Note! The most updated Schedule is posted under "Files" in the "Program KBB101" folder.


Course literature

Handouts & Papers

Lecture handouts, pre-preparation-tasks, scientific research papers and review papers will be posted on here on Canvas under "Files" during the course.


Recommended (but not mandatory) textbook: Molecular and Biochemical Toxicology

Robert C. Smart and Ernest Hodgson (Eds.), 4th ed. John Wiley, 2008 or later editions.


Quizzes (optional) on Canvas will be followed some lectures as an aid to self-studies and the Quizzes can be performed repeatedly during the course.


Course design

The course consists of two parts the first part of the course is mainly theoretical with lectures and literature search and the second part of the course is mainly practical with an interactive lab-study that will be presented at a symposium at the end of the course.

In addition there will be a number of exercises/seminars/workshop led by scientists during the theoretical part.

There are some topics such as the cytochrome P450 system, oxidative stress and neurotoxicity that covered by series, of about 3-8 lectures each, to provide a more in-debt knowledge in biochemical toxicity.

Other topics are presented on a more general basis as a “smörgåsbord”, 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.

After some lectures there will be quizzes launched on your Canvas that you can test your knowledge. The quizzes can be performed repeatedly during the course.

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 environmental pollutants.

The course provides insight in the molecular mechanisms of action of anthropogenic chemical, as well as the basic molecular biological response mechanisms following an exposure to toxic substances in animals.

The lab-study involves:

-Designing an experiment (select 2 chemicals and 2 endpoints)

-Cultures of a vertebrate liver cell-line in 2 multiwell plates

-Exposure of cells to chemicals alone and in binary mixtures in vitro

-Analysis of biochemical detoxification mechanisms in situ

-Interpretation of your results

-Discussing your results in light of recent scientific literature

-Writing an abstract (min. 250 to max. 400 words + references) in Word

-Prepare min. 5 to max. 10 slides in PowerPoint

-Oral presentation at a symposium – all members in each lab-group present. (15 min for presentation/group + 5 min for questions/group)

Canvas will be used for posting lecture handouts, pre-preparation tasks, lab-protocol etc. under "Files". Information from the teachers will be communicated under "Announcement". The quizzes will be launched under "Quizzes". E-mail addresses to the examiner, teachers, teaching assistants are provided above.

Regular meetings with the assigned (c/o Chalmers) student representatives and the examiner will be held during the course followed up by a final meeting after the course together with a representative from Chalmers.

The course PM will be presented on Tuesday August 31 during the introduction to the course and the slides from that presentation are provides as a pdf-file under "Files" in the Lecture Handouts-folder.


Changes made since the last occasion


Excerscise quizzes will be launched after some lectures.


One lecture added to present the aim and expected

outcomes of the lab-study.

Mathematical modeling

Combinatorial Effects – Synergism - Create a Model

SYMPOSIUM 2021 a week later than previous years

Thursday October 21 (@13:15 to 15:00)

or Friday October 22 (@13:15 to 15:00)

Abstract Deadline October 19 no later than 18:00.


Learning objectives and syllabus

Learning objectives:

  • 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.


Link to the syllabus on Studieportalen.

Study plan


Examination form

The examination is based on a written exam (approved grades 3-5) and approved lab-study, abstract and symposium-presentation.

Maximum points80p=100% ; passed ≥50% 


1-2: <50% (Failed

3    ≥50%  

4    ≥70%   

5    ≥85%    



Examperiod 1 c/o Chalmers

(Location, Date, Time - See separate information from Chalmers)


Do not forget to be extra clear with project assignments; what is the problem, what should be done, what is the expected result, and how should this result be reported. Details such as templates for project reports, what happens at missed deadlines etc. are extra important to include.

Course summary:

Date Details Due