Plant Biotechnology (MPB) / MSc


The MSc programme Plant Biotechnology focuses on the integration of plant sciences and molecular biology to develop healthy plants for food purposes, health applications, and the production of bioresources. Rapid technological developments in the field of plant biology, genomics, molecular genetics and bioinformatics enabled the application of molecular marker technology to accelerate the selection of novel varieties with a wide variety of favourable traits, including improved quality characteristics and resistance against biotic and abiotic factors. These developments have also facilitated the design, development and management of transgenic plants. At present, plants are increasingly being used as an alternative source for the production of valuable proteins and secondary metabolites for food supplements and pharmaceuticals. In addition, new insights into the molecular basis of plant development and plant-insect, plant-pathogen and crop-weed relationships form the basis for the development of disease-resistant plants and strategies for the integrated management of pests, diseases and weeds. The programme is research oriented, with particular focus on molecular and cell biology, genomics and bioinformatics. The fundamental approach is combined with the development of tools and technologies that can be applied to plant breeding, plant pathology, post-harvest quality control, and the production of renewable bioresources. The socio-economic, ethical and environmental impact of plant biotechnology in a global perspective is also addressed.

Learning Outcomes

After successful completion of this MSc programme graduates are expected to be able to:
- explain and exemplify theories, methods and techniques that are relevant to the selected specialization, and remain informed about recent developments in the field of specialization as well as related domains;
- apply knowledge of genomics, molecular biology, genetics and bioinformatics in order to improve understanding of fundamental processes in plants and interactions between genes and gene products (Specialization A - Functional Plant Genomics);
- apply the knowledge of plant molecular biology, genomics, metabolomics and biomedical science in order to analyse and design plant-based systems for the production of health-promoting compounds (proteins and secondary metabolites) (Specialization B - Plants for Human and Animal Health);
- apply the knowledge of molecular markers, genomics and bioinformatics to explore genetic variation and to develop novel plant varieties (Specialization C - Molecular Plant Breeding and Pathology);
- apply knowledge on plant-insect, plant-pathogen, crop-weed interactions and molecular detection technologies to design strategies for integrated plant health-management and develop disease resistant crops (Specialization C - Molecular Plant Breeding and Pathology);
- independently select and apply suitable laboratory techniques, analytical measurements, mathematical and statistical methods for the collection, processing and analysis of experimental data in plant biotechnology;
- independently formulate a scientific problem in plant biotechnology in terms of research questions, and develop a scientifically relevant research plan in which problem definition, hypothesis, experimental set-up and data analysis are described in relation to relevant literature;
- independently perform scientific experiments and analyse and interpret experimental data, in order to develop or design a novel solution, system, model or product;
- translate research data and scientific knowledge in the field of specialization into relevant solutions to complex problems;
- select relevant scientific literature to critically analyse current concepts, theories, techniques and debates as a basis for defining research questions and testing hypotheses in order to draw conclusions and develop recommendations;
- communicate effectively in professional English with specialists and non-specialists about research and solutions to problems related to the field of specialization, both verbally (in presentations and debates) and in writing;
- experience the institutional, entrepreneurial and professional reality of a potential junior academic working environment and determine a personal professional perspective;
- co-operate in a multi-disciplinary intercultural team in different team roles, including the role of team leader, to plan, perform and manage project-based work;
- analyse and evaluate the socio-economic, ethical and environmental aspects of research in the field of specialization and integrate these in academic work in an intercultural context;
- reflect on personal knowledge, skills, attitudes and performance, both individually and by giving and receiving feedback, and design a personal learning path.


A - Functional Plant Genomics;
B - Plants for Human and Animal Health;
C - Molecular Plant Breeding and Pathology.

Programme Director

Dr. G.J. Kuipers
Phone: 0317-(4)84767/ 82839

Study Adviser(s)

- Dr. M.J.W. Jeuken
Phone: 0317-(4)84157
- Dr. ir. J.C. Goud
Phone: 0317-(4)85047
- Dr. J.W. van 't Klooster
Phone: 0317-(4)85551

Programme Committee

Chair: Dr. ir. A. Schots
Secretary: Dr. G.J. Kuipers


Study Association

Semper Florens