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Signal Transduction

The course will give you a deeper theoretical understanding of various signal transduction pathways in the cell.

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Effects of ligand regulated ion channels, G-protein coupled receptors and receptor-tyrosine kinases and examples on other phylogenetically conserved signal pathways are described.

Emphasis is put on signal transduction in the central and peripheral nervous system. Signal transduction in the immune system, the coupling between the immune system and the nervous system, and the effects of toxins, pharmacological substances and various diseases on signal transduction are presented. Specific systems dealing with memory and learning, chemoreception, and vision are also included. Methods for studies on cell signaling in invertebrates, vertebrates and in vitro model systems are described.

The course includes an extensive individual theoretical research project (running throughout the whole course) where you will get training in critically reading and evaluating data in research articles, identifying specific problems or future perspectives in a given field of signal transduction research, as well as suggesting and evaluating possible experimental approaches. The course also includes training in presenting a scientific topic in the form of a poster, writing a research grant proposal for solving a scientific question and oral power point presentation of a scientific topic and suggested experimental approach to gain further knowledge within the given research field.

  • Course structure

    It is expected that the student after completing the course will be able to:

    • Give an account of structure, kinetics and signal transduction pathways for cell surface receptors, and the most important classes of pharmacological substances and toxins that affect receptor-mediated signal transduction.
    • Demonstrate basic knowledge of chemical neurotransmission,  evolutionally conserved neuronal components and of the most important signal pathways in the nervous system, and examples of signal paths in the immune system.
    • Give exapmles of signal pathways in the immune system and the endocrine system.
    • Explain how different signaling pathways can cooperate in more complex systems, and the mechanisms of the most common diseases that affect signaling within the cell.
    • Give a cursory account of the methods and model systems available for studying signal transduction.
    • Demonstrate ability to independently identify a problem within a specified field of research and to suggest and evaluate possible approaches



    The course is divided into two modules.


    The written exam is worth 8 ECTS

    Independent theoretical research project and journal clubs

    The research project and journal clubs are worth 7 ECTS in total.

    All parts of the course are described below.

    Teaching format

    During the course different types of teaching activities will be used including lectures, two Journal Club (JC) exercises, and a theoretical research project, which in turn includes a poster session, writing a research grant proposal, chairing and giving a presentation during an oral presentation session.


    • Lectures will focus on presenting the current understanding of molecular mechanisms of signal transduction with emphasis on cell surface receptor signaling pathways and on signaling in the nervous system. Examples of signaling paths in immune system, as well as consequences of dysregulation of certain signaling will be presented.
    • Lectures will also have a focus on discussion different types of methods that can be used for research on signal transduction mechanisms.

    Independent theoretical research project (all parts are mandatory):

    1. Choice of project: The teachers (supervisors) suggest different possible research fields and each student is assigned to one topic/supervisor
    2. Independent and in-depth penetration of the literature and design of a poster that in general terms describes the specific research area. Poster presentations.
    3. Independent work where the initial task is to identify a specific question to ask/problem to solve within the research area and make a project plan for how this questions/problem can be solved. A written report should be made and include suggestions how to approach this question in a scientific and experimental way (Project plan; possible problem/question related to what is being discussed during the course, description of background, aims, experimental design, like a typical application for research funding)
    4. Discussions with the supervisors/teachers: The teacher (and other students in the same group) read the project plan. This is followed by a discussion and if applicable suggestions how to improve the project plan. Hand-in of project plan that will then be distributed to teachers and all students.
    5. PowerPoint presentations & discussion of your research plan: 20-30 min presentation / person.

    Note, it is very important to interact with your supervisor throughout the course

    Journal Club 1:
    A specific scientific article (handed out by teacher(s)) is analyzed and discussed in-depth with regard to why the study was performed, why the methods were chosen, on what bases conclusions were drawn and if there could be alternative conclusions of results or alternative approaches to answer the most relevant questions. Mandatory

    Journal Club 2:
    Each student selects an article of importance for their individual research project and presents for the rest of the group. Mandatory

    Short test (“dugga”)
    Short test will cover part of the course book (as specified) and the results can improve the final grade.  

    Compulsory activities and deadlines
    An active participation from the start of the course is important to keep up. You are expected to attend the lectures and to read the course literature including the review articles handed out by the teachers.

    Participation in all activities related to the project (JC, poster session and oral presentations) is compulsory.


    Examination of the course is done by oral and written tasks as described above as well as by a written exam.

    To pass the course you must participate in all compulsory activities, pass on the JC assignments, achieve the grade E or higher on the written exam, and on the research project.




    Anna-Lena Ström
    Tel: 08-16 1267

  • Schedule

    The schedule will be available no later than one month before the start of the course. We do not recommend print-outs as changes can occur. At the start of the course, your department will advise where you can find your schedule during the course.
  • Course literature

    Note that the course literature can be changed up to two months before the start of the course.

    The course literature consists of the book Signal Transduction (Eds. BD Gomperts, IM Kramer, PER Tatham), Elsevier Academic Press 2009,


    Also review articles, other material handed out by the teachers and your own search in PubMed.

    Review articles and lecture power points can be found in Athena.


  • Contact

    For course details contact

    Anna-Lena Ström
    Tel: 08-16 1267