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Antibiotics – Biology and Chemistry BIOR56

7,5 credits

Students in laboratory studying samples. Photo.

Course description

Antibiotics are very important compounds. The majority of all known antibiotics are produced by bacteria. Antibiotics were once regarded as miracle drugs. However, they are becoming less effective as bacteria develop resistance against them. The increasing occurrence of micro-organisms that are resistant to multiple antibiotics constitutes a serious threat to human health. There is a great demand for completely new types of antibiotics and means to minimize the development and dissemination of antibiotic resistance.

The course, which is on the advanced level, is designed for those who seek a deeper knowledge about antibiotics in the perspective of biology and chemistry. Such knowledge is valuable for professional work in many different areas such as environmental biology, human and veterinary medicine, pharmacology, biotechnology and national and international politics. The course does not comprise pharmacology and details of clinical use of antibiotics such the treatment of specific infectious diseases.

The course is taught in the form of introductory and summary lectures, a few laboratory practicals, and seminars based on short literature projects. The basic literature for the course is a text book, handouts and scientific articles. The course addresses fundamental questions and problems concerning antibiotics. What is the role of antibiotics in nature? How are they synthesized? What are their modes of action? How can new antibiotics be discovered? How can we attack problems with antibiotic resistant micro-organisms? The course brings a comprehensive understanding of the biology and chemistry of antibiotics. It also provides insights about bacterial physiology as well as industrial and clinical aspects of antibiotics and about evolution of antibiotic resistance.

Spring period 2a

Full-time, on campus, in English


You find information about application, prerequsites and the syllabus at Lund University's webpages.

Course literature spring 2024

Antibiotics: Challenges, Mechanisms, Opportunities. C. Walsh and T. Wencewicz, ASM Press, (2016), print ISBN 9781555819309, e-ISBN 9781555819316. Available as E-book at the Biology library.


The latest schedule for the course Antibiotics - Biology and Chemistry in the schedule software TimeEdit.


You find the latest evaluation on our web page with course evaluations.


Therese Reber, study advisor, molecular biology

Telephone: +46 46 222 73 16
Email: molbiol_master [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se