Master in Biopharmaceutical Sciences

Cell Signalling



Learning Outcomes

The overall objective is to enable students with the knowledge necessary to understand principles and signaling systems that coordinate communication between eukaryotic cells and with the environment. General skills such as recognition of cell signalling involved in homeostasis of the cell and the organism and its alteration in disease will be acquired. Specific competencies are to: 1) describe the main characteristics and components of processes such as proliferation, differentiation and cell death, including receptors, messengers and effectors; 2) identify cellular and biochemical mechanisms of cell signalling and recognise their role in cellular adaptation to the environment and to stimuli; 3) identify the role of different cell signaling pathways in the physiology of systems and recognize diseases associated with deregulation of cellular activity, such as degenerative diseases, autoimmune diseases and cancer; and 4) identify main therapeutic approaches. The student should also be able to apply strategies of analysis and manipulation of cellular function and integrate theory with current laboratory methods to identify signalling pathways.


Cell signalling is an essential part of biological processes. The program includes specific topics, study models and experimental methods, which support current concepts on mechanisms and signaling pathways, with emphasis on proliferation, differentiation and cell death. Interaction and regulation of pathways will be discussed in higher organisms, from the perspective of application in biomedical areas, pharmaceutical and biotechnology, from understanding the pathogenesis of certain diseases, to the development of therapeutic strategies of modulation. The curriculum includes the following modules: 1) features, components and mechanisms of signalling systems; 2) molecular basis of regulation of signalling pathways critical for the survival of living organisms; 3) signalling pathways in (patho)physiological systems and treatment of diseases.

Practical Teaching
Practical classes will allow the student to critically discuss and provide solutions to theoretical and experimental problems related to the course topics, in seminar format, to better frame acquired knowledge on its diverse applications.

Laboratory Teaching
In the laboratory, specific cell signalling pathawys will be investigated, from evaluating cell fate in tissues, mammalian cells in culture, and isolated cell organelles, to the identification of the molecular mechanisms underlying signalling.