Autumn Semester 2020 takes place in a mixed form of online and classroom teaching.
Please read the published information on the individual courses carefully.

Matthias Peter: Catalogue data in Autumn Semester 2016

Name Prof. Dr. Matthias Peter
Institut für Biochemie
ETH Zürich, HPM G 8.1
Otto-Stern-Weg 3
8093 Zürich
Telephone+41 44 633 65 86
Fax+41 44 633 12 28
RelationshipFull Professor

551-0319-00LCellular Biochemistry (Part I) Information 3 credits2VU. Kutay, R. I. Enchev, B. Kornmann, M. Peter, I. Zemp, further lecturers
AbstractConcepts and molecular mechanisms underlying the biochemistry of the cell, providing advanced insights into structure, function and regulation of individual cell components. Particular emphasis will be put on the spatial and temporal integration of different molecules and signaling pathways into global cellular processes such as intracellular transport, cell division & growth, and cell migration.
ObjectiveThe full-year course (551-0319-00 & 551-0320-00) focuses on the molecular mechanisms and concepts underlying the biochemistry of cellular physiology, investigating how these processes are integrated to carry out highly coordinated cellular functions. The molecular characterisation of complex cellular functions requires a combination of approaches such as biochemistry, but also cell biology and genetics. This course is therefore the occasion to discuss these techniques and their integration in modern cellular biochemistry.
The students will be able to describe the structural and functional details of individual cell components, and the spatial and temporal regulation of their interactions. In particular, they will learn to explain the integration of different molecules and signaling pathways into complex and highly dynamic cellular processes such as intracellular transport, cytoskeletal rearrangements, cell motility, cell division and cell growth. In addition, they will be able to illustrate the relevance of particular signaling pathways for cellular pathologies such as cancer.
ContentStructural and functional details of individual cell components, regulation of their interactions, and various aspects of the regulation and compartmentalisation of biochemical processes.
Topics include: biophysical and electrical properties of membranes; viral membranes; structural and functional insights into intracellular transport and targeting; vesicular trafficking and phagocytosis; post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression.
Lecture notesScripts and additional material will be provided during the semester. Please contact Dr. Alicia Smith for assistance with the learning materials. (
LiteratureRecommended supplementary literature (review articles and selected primary literature) will be provided during the course.
Prerequisites / NoticeTo attend this course the students must have a solid basic knowledge in chemistry, biochemistry and general biology. The course will be taught in English.
551-0336-00LMethods in Cellular Biochemistry Information Restricted registration - show details
Number of participants limited to 20.
6 credits7GP. Picotti, J. Fernandes de Matos, U. Kutay, M. Peter, K. Weis
AbstractStudents will learn about biochemical approaches to analyze cellular functions. The course consists of practical projects in small groups, lectures and literature discussions. The course concludes with the presentation of results at a poster session.
ObjectiveStudents will learn to design, carry out and assess experiments using current biochemical and cell biological strategies to analyze cellular functions in a wide range of model systems. In particular they will learn novel imaging techniques along with biochemical approaches to understand fundamental cellular pathways. Furthermore, they will learn to assess strengths and limitations of the different approaches and be able to discuss their validity for the analysis of cellular functions.
LiteratureDocumentation and recommended literature (review articles and selected primary literature) will be provided during the course.
Prerequisites / NoticeThis course will be taught in English.
551-0347-00LMolecular Mechanisms of Cell Growth and Polarity Restricted registration - show details
Number of participants limited to 12.
6 credits7GR. Kroschewski, Y. Barral, S. Jessberger, M. Peter
AbstractIntroduction to the principles and molecular mechanisms of cell polarity, using animal cells and fungi as model systems.
ObjectiveThe students learn to describe the principles and molecular mechanisms of cell polarity, using different model systems as examples:
- Animal cells during epithelial and neuronal differentiation
- Fungi during morphogenesis and aging.
Based on lectures, literature reading, discussions, presentations and practical lab work the students will be able to compare experimental strategies in different model systems, and to develop open questions in the field of cell polarity. Students will also know about the mechanisms and consequences of asymmetric cell division such as those performed by stem cells and asymmetric protein functions during morphogenesis and aging.
ContentDuring this Block-Course, the students will learn to
(1) describe and compare the principles and molecular mechanisms of cell polarity in fungi and animal cells,
(2) apply, evaluate and compare experimental strategies in the different model systems, and
(3) select the best model system to answer a particular question.

Students - in groups of 2 or max 3- will be integrated into a research project connected to the subject of the course, within one of the participating research groups.

Lectures and technical notes will be given and informal discussions held to provide you with the theoretical background.
Lecture notesThere will be optional papers to be read before the course start. They serve as framework orientation for the practical parts of this block course and will be made accessible to you shortly before the course starts on the relevant Moodle site.
LiteratureDocumentation and recommended literature (review articles) will be provided during the course.
551-0371-00LGrowth Control: Insights from Yeast and Flies Information Restricted registration - show details
Number of participants limited to 8.
6 credits7GH. Stocker, R. C. Dechant, E. Hafen, M. Peter
AbstractAll organisms have to control their growth in accordance with environmental conditions. This course focuses on the analysis of growth regulation in the model organisms yeast and Drosophila. The participants will perform experiments in small teams to study insulin/TOR signaling as a key regulator of cellular growth. A particular focus will be the discussion of current research.
ObjectiveThe aims of the block course are that participants

(I) understand the function and evolution of insulin/TOR signaling

(II) learn how genetic approaches in different organisms contribute to the understanding of human diseases such as cancer

(III) will get familiarized with reading and discussing research articles

(IV) get a first exposure to current research.
ContentThe block course consists of

(I) experiments:

Teams of two students each will join research labs to work on current projects focusing on growth regulation in both single-cell eukaryotes (yeast) and multicellular animals (Drosophila). The students will present their projects and results to their colleagues.

(II) lectures on growth regulation in yeast and Drosophila.

(III) journal clubs to discuss recent literature.
Lecture notesLecture handouts
LiteratureOriginal research articles will be discussed during the course.
551-1303-00LCellular Biochemistry of Health and Disease Information Restricted registration - show details
Number of participants limited to 15.
4 credits2SP. Picotti, Y. Barral, J. Fernandes de Matos, V. Korkhov, B. Kornmann, R. Kroschewski, M. Peter, A. E. Smith, K. Weis
AbstractDuring this Masters level seminar style course, students will explore current research topics in cellular biochemistry focused on the structure, function and regulation of selected cell components, and the consequences of dysregulation for pathologies.
ObjectiveStudents will work with experts toward a critical analysis of cutting-edge research in the domain of cellular biochemistry, with emphasis on normal cellular processes and the consequences of their dysregulation. At the end of the course, students will be able to introduce, present, evaluate, critically discuss and write about recent scientific articles in the research area of cellular biochemistry.
ContentGuided by an expert in the field, students will engage in classical round-table style discussions of current literature with occasional frontal presentations. Students will alternate as discussion leaders throughout the semester, with the student leader responsible to briefly summarize key general knowledge and context of the assigned primary research paper. Together with the faculty expert, all students will participate in discussion of the primary paper, including the foundation of the biological question, specific questions addressed, key methods, key results, remaining gaps and research implications.
LiteratureThe literature will be provided during the course
Prerequisites / NoticeThe course will be taught in English.