KE825: Nucleic Acids in Medicinal Chemistry and Nanobiotechnology

Study Board of Science

Teaching language: English
EKA: N540038102
Censorship: Second examiner: External
Grading: 7-point grading scale
Offered in: Odense
Offered in: Spring
Level: Master's level course approved as PhD course

STADS ID (UVA): N540038101
ECTS value: 5

Date of Approval: 05-11-2019

Duration: 1 semester

Version: Approved - active


10008201  (former UVA) is identical with this course description. 
If there are fewer than 12 students enrolled, the course may. be held with another teaching form. 

Entry requirements

Bachelor Degree in biology, chemistry, physics, biochemistry and molecular biology, biomedicine, nanobioscience, pharmacy or medicine. Or B.Sc. minor degree in chemistry.

Academic preconditions

Students taking the course are expected to: Have knowledge of fundamental chemistry, organic chemistry, biophysics and molecular biology and to be able to use research journals and databases to search for relevant literature.

Course introduction

The objective of the course is to enable the students to gain an insight into the contemporary DNA nanotechnology, have a glimpse of the cutting-edge gene diagnostics and obtain a good overview over the burgeoning gene-editing therapeutics. With a touch on the frontier scientific advancement, the students are also trained to conceive innovative ideas to address a specific issue or an unresolved challenge by taking advantage of the knowledge learned from this course and/or the relevant literature work.

The course builds on the chemistry knowledge acquired in other courses, e.g. FA505, FF503, KE504, KE505, KE805 or BMB504, and gives an academic basis for studying the topics of nucleic acid chemistry and nanotechnology that are part of the degree, e.g. in the master project.

In relation to the competence profile of the degree it is the explicit focus of the course to:

  • Give the competence to designer nucleic acids and their applications in chemistry and biology;
  • Impart knowledge of in vitro selection of nucleic acids as artificial enzymes or antibodies;
  • Provide an insight into modified oligonucleotides, their structure, properties and related applications in gene therapy and diagnostics;
  • Give skills to design new chemical entities or nucleic acid derivatives to address an unresolved specific issue.

Expected learning outcome

The learning objectives of the course are that the student demonstrates the ability to:

  • Recognize natural and modified nucleic acids, their secondary structures and possible applications in nanotechnology and gene therapy;
  • Understand the principle for chemical and enzymatic synthesis of nucleic acids, and the necessity of chemical modifications for their divergent in vivo applications;
  • Perform synthesis, purification and analysis of a model DNA sequence through solid support DNA synthesis, chromatography (column and HPLC) and mass spectrometry techniques;
  • Refresh the knowledge of the biological roles of DNA and RNA, in which pathways the nucleic acid-based technology can intervene for potential gene therapy and/or diagnostics;
  • Perceive the principle of the in vitro selection of artificial antibodies and enzymes derived from nucleic acids;
  • Know the design rationale of two-dimensional and three-dimensional DNA nanostructures, as well as the possible applications.


The following main topics are contained in the course:

  • Nucleic acid primary structures, synthesis of nucleosides and nucleotides and synthesis of oligonucleotides;
  • Nucleic acid secondary and tertiary structures, interactions between nucleic acids and small molecules and proteins;
  • RNA-targeting therapeutics (RNA interference, antisense technology and RNA Splicing skipping, etc.);
  • DNA-targeting therapeutics (CRISPR CAS9, TFO and strand invasion, etc.);
  • The in vitro selection of nucleic acid-based antibodies and enzymes (aptamers and ribozymes, etc.) and the potential applications;
  • The design rationale and possible applications of DNA/RNA nanostructures and molecular machines (self-assembly in vitro, DNA origami; imaging);
  • Model studies of synthetic nucleic acids in biomolecular targeting in vitro and in vivo (antisense, siRNA, miRNA, aptamer technology);
  • Model studies of gene therapy (cellular uptake via lipidation and glycosylation, function of synthetic DNA and RNA oligonucleotides and co-delivery with other modalities).


  • Nucleic Acids Book (, online resource)
  • G. Michael Blackburn and Michael J Gait et al.: Nucleic Acids in Chemistry and Biology, 3rd edition, Royal society of Chemistry. (ISBN: 978-0-85404-654-6)

See itslearning for syllabus lists and additional literature references.

Examination regulations

Exam element a)




Oral exam




Second examiner: External


7-point grading scale


Student Identification Card


Normally, the same as teaching language


Approximately 20-30 minutes per student

Examination aids

To be announced during the course

ECTS value


Additional information

The examination form for re-examination may be different from the exam form at the regular exam.

Indicative number of lessons

47 hours per semester

Teaching Method

At the faculty of science, teaching is organized after the three-phase model ie. intro, training and study phase.

  • Intro phase: 16 hours
  • Skills training phase: 31 hours,thereof tutorials: 16 hours and laboratory exercises: 15 hours

Activities during the study phase:
  • preparation for lectures
  • individual project

Teacher responsible

Name E-mail Department
Chenguang Lou Institut for Fysik, Kemi og Farmaci


Administrative Unit

Fysik, kemi og Farmaci

Team at Registration & Legality


Recommended course of study