RNA Structure and Function
Course infoSchedule
Course moduleNWI-MOL107
Credits (ECTS)6
CategoryBA (Bachelor)
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byRadboud University; Faculty of Science; Moleculaire Wetenschappen;
PreviousNext 3
dr. J.J. Jansen
Other course modules lecturer
dr. H. Marks
Other course modules lecturer
prof. dr. G.J.M. Pruijn
Other course modules lecturer
Contactperson for the course
prof. dr. G.J.M. Pruijn
Other course modules lecturer
prof. dr. G.J.M. Pruijn
Other course modules lecturer
Academic year2023
KW1  (04/09/2023 to 05/11/2023)
Starting block
Course mode
Registration using OSIRISYes
Course open to students from other facultiesYes
Waiting listNo
Placement procedure-
After completing the course, the student will be able:
  • to evaluate the versatility of RNA chemistry and structure in biological systems
  • to explain the mechanisms and functions of diverse classes of non-coding RNA in gene expression
  • to analyse and design RNA drug targets and therapeutics in biomedical applications
  • to employ basic methods for the analysis of big datasets on RNA
  • to synthesize chemistry and biology knowledge in order to explore interdisciplinary RNA research
RNA has emerged as a molecule of major importance throughout biology. Interest in RNA has exploded over the last decades, fueled in part by the discovery of microRNAs and RNA interference. In this course, students will be introduced to the diversity of especially non-coding RNA molecules and their functions in the cell. An interdisciplinary approach to understanding RNA structure and function will be taken. Both small and long non-coding RNAs became recognized as important players in biological systems. Coupled with the recognition that virtually every base of genomic DNA is transcribed at some level, it became apparent that non-coding RNAs have critical functions.
RNA science benefits from high throughput sequencing technologies to map global transcription to understand the complement of RNAs in the cell at any moment and under any condition. New bioinformatics methods have been and are being developed to extract biologically relevant information from these big datasets. In addition, even transient RNAs contain a wide range of post-transcriptional modifications, which may uncover yet another layer of regulation that we still do not fully appreciate.
RNA, as a novel therapeutic drug class, has the potential to address problems at any step of protein building, preventing the production of a non-functional protein. Furthermore, RNA’s ability to turn genes on and off enables scientists to identify the root origins of diseases and develop novel therapeutic approaches.

Presumed foreknowledge
Knowledge obtained in the course Advanced Molecular Biology (or Biochemistry & Molecular Biology II; NWI-BB017C) or in an equivalent course is required.
Test information
Written exam (80%; minimum grade 5.5) and assessment of journal club presentations (20%)

Required materials
Lodish et al., Molecular Cell Biology, 8th edition (Publisher: Freeman and company (Macmillan Learning), New York, 2016) OR Lodish et al., Molecular Cell Biology, 9th edition (Publisher: Macmillan Learning, New York, 2021), ISBN 9781319365486
Learning Management System (Brigthspace)
Lecture powerpoint slides will be provided via Brightspace
Scientific (review) papers

Instructional modes

More information will be provided at the start of the course.

Digital Exam
Test weight4
Test typeDigital exam with CIRRUS
OpportunitiesBlock KW1, Block KW2

Test weight1
Test typePresentation
OpportunitiesBlock KW1