Course Syllabus


KBB101 Biochemical toxicology lp1 HT19 (7.5 hp)

The course is offered by the department of Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences at the University of Gothenburg.

Contact details

  • Examiner

Professor Malin Celander, University of Gothenburg (GU), Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Box 463, 405 30 Göteborg


Phone: 031-786 3693

Visiting address: “Zoologen-building” Medicinaregatan 18A, 3rd floor

  • Lecturers

Docent Bethanie Carney Almroth (, Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, GU

Professor Malin Celander (, Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, GU

Docent Joakim Ek (, Department of Neuroscience and Physiology, GU

Dr Tobias Lammel (, Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, GU

Dr Eva Lundborg (, AstraZeneca R&D, Mölndal

  • Teaching assistants (Lab-Study)

MS Charlotte Alvord (, Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, GU

MS Lina Birgersson (, Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, GU

Dr Tobias Lammel (, Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, GU

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.




The latest updated version of the schedule is posted here under ”Files”.

Course literature

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

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


Lecture handouts, scientific research papers and review papers that will be posted here under ”Files” during the course.

Course design

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

The lectures are given predominantly by research specialists from university and industry.

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 2x45minutes lectures each, to provide an introduction to different areas of biochemical toxicology both from a human and from an environmental point of view.

The excercises:

  • A Case Study: Microarray data – Pathways – Hypotheses – Discussion
  • Seminar: Researcher’s ethics and scientific misconduct

Information about pre-preparation tasks prior the exercises will be posted here under “´Files”.

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)

The lab-study protocol is posted here under “Files”.

Changes made since the last occasion

Overall the oral and written course-evaluations from last year were positive and therefore no major changes have been made since the last occasion. The only change made is a switch of lecturer for the carcinogenesis-lecture.

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

If the course is a joint course (Chalmers and Göteborgs Universitet) you should link to both syllabus (Chalmers and Göteborgs Universitet).

Examination form

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

Course Summary:

Date Details