Academic year
Subject Area
Cellular and Molecular Biology
Language of Instruction
Mode of Delivery
ECTS Credits
2nd Cycle Studies - Mestrado

Recommended Prerequisites

1st cycle in Biology or Biochemistry, or basic knowledge in Cell Biology and Biochemistry.

Teaching Methods

Lectures where the students are invited to analyse and to draw conclusions from scientific data.   

Theoretical-practical classes for problem-solving and presentation of papers by the students.

Laboratory classes.

Seminars by invited scientists.

Learning Outcomes

The main objective of this course is the understanding of the unifying principles of cellular bioenergetics with particular emphasis on mitochondrial bioenergetics, in an integrative perspective. Mitochondrial functions are discussed in the context of normal cell function as well as in some disorders. The laboratory practicals focus on the preparation of isolated mitochondria and evaluation of mitochondrial bioenergetic parameters in the study of the effects of chemical compounds (drugs useed in the clinical practice or toxic xenobiotics such as pesticides) and their use as a functional criterion for toxicological evaluation. This course also aims to develop students' ability to relate and integrate knowledge acquired in other disciplines. Contact with literature and its interpretation is another key objective.     

Work Placement(s)



1. Thermodynamics.

2. Oxidation-reduction potentials.

3. Ultrastructure vs mitochondrial function; mitochondrial networks.

4. Electron transport chain.

5. Foundations of chemiosmotic theory and alternative hypotheses.

6. Measuring protomotriz force. Factors that control the contribution of ΔΨ and ΔpH to Ap. Basis of the respiratory control.

7. Use of the metabolic control analysis to discriminate the effects of compounds that act simultaneously on multiple "sites" of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation. The role of K+ fluxes in the regulation of mitochondrial protomotriz force. Activating KATP channels and cardioprotection.

8. Mitochondrial Permeability Transition (MPT) and pathophysiologic implications: MPT and oxidative stress; role of MPT in ischemia/reperfusion and in the toxicity of xenobiotics; MPT as a pharmacological target.

9. Mitochondrial bioenergetics vs toxicological evaluation. Use of ΔΨ as a functional criterion in toxicological evaluation.

Assessment Methods

Synthesis work: 25.0%
Other: 25.0%
Exam: 50.0%


Lars, G. (2008). Bioenergetics - its thermodynamics foundations. In Garby and Larsen P.S. Eds, Cambridge University Press.

Nicholls, D. G. & Fergunson,  S. J. (2013) Bioenergetics 4. Academic Press.

Palmeira, C. M. & Moreno, A. J. Eds. (2012) Mitochondrial Bioenergetics: Methods and Protocols. In Methods in Molecular Biology, Volume 810, Springer Protocols, Humana Press.



Research and review papers.