Courses

Compulsory courses (15 ECTS)

Drug Discovery (compulsory)

Description of content
The consecutive steps of the current paradigm are discussed following the course book of H.P.Rang. We begin with the history of Drug Discovery. Then we discuss choosing the project; choosing the target, finding a lead and optimising the lead. Supporting workshops will deal with bioinformatics, computer-assisted drug discovery, quantitative pharmacology. Furthermore, students will spend almost half of their time in teams that have to present an innovative research proposalThere will be a two-day excursion to the Dutch Medicines Days. Registration:
Send an e-mail to the administration (Studiepunt.pharm@uu.nl). The mail should contain 1) your name; 2) student number; 3) e-mail address; 4) telephone number; 5) current Master track. Please note: the number of participants is limited to 48. Only the first registrations can be accepted.
Mandatory for students in Master’s programme Drug Innovation: YES.Optional for students in other Master’s programmes GS-LS: any other master programme with relevant basal courses.

This course is open to Bachelors of Science. Applicants are familiar with: molecular biology, biochemistry, pharmacology, organic chemistry.

Drug Development and Regulation (compulsory)

Description of content

In this course you will study the process of drug development and drug regulation, both processes that are an essential part of the drug pipeline. There will be an emphasis on new innovative drugs and therapies like novel vaccins, miRNA, antibodies, and gene- and stem cell therapy.

In the first week of the of the course the pharmaceutical development of a new drug is the main topic. Furthermore, the quality assessment of these processes is an important aspect.
The second main topic of the course is the preclinical safety assessment of new drugs. Attention will be paid to the extrapolation of in vitro and in vivo data from preclinical tests to man (translational medicine). Next, the clinical development of new drugs and the regulatory guidelines for clinical testing are discussed. Finally, attention will also be paid to post-marketing surveillance (pharmacovigilance). In addition, some special topics will be discussed such pharmacoeconomics and pharmamanagment. In the last week of the course the project-groups have to finish and present their final products (see Chapter 2). Lectures, workshops and background literature are offered to obtain a firm understanding of drug development and to provide examples from the viewpoint of the industry, academia research, regulatory authorities and patients. Furthermore, you will spend half of your time in teams to make a development plan for a new, innovative drug (see Chapter 2).
Registration:
Send an e-mail to the administration (Studiepunt.pharm@uu.nl). The mail should contain 1) your name; 2) student number; 3) e-mail address; 4) telephone number; 5) current Master track. Please note: the number of participants is limited to 40. Only the first registrations can be accepted.Mandatory for students in Master’s programme Drug Innovation: YES.Optional for students in other Master’s programmes GS-LS:any other master programme with relevant basal courses.

Electives (12 ECTS)

Understanding Drugs

Description of content
During this course we will try to achieve the starting level for the Drug Innovation master’s programme. We will offer workshops on the topic of „Understanding Drugs“, encompassing the fields of: 1. Bioorganic chemistry 2. Pharmacokinetics 3. Pharmacodynamics 4. Pharmaceutics 5. Anatomy and Physiology 6. Biochemistry 7. Analytical Chemistry 8. Pharmacotherapy Literature/study material used:
Web.science.uu.nl/udIf you feel inexperienced we recommend the book:
Basic Pharmacology- Understanding of drugs actions and reactions, from Hernandez and Rathinavella, CRC Press 2006, ISBN 1-58716-160-5
In Dutch: Algemene Farmacologie, Van Ree en Breimer, 1999, Elsevier /Bunge, ISBN 9035220722
Registration:
Send an e-mail to the administration (Studiepunt.pharm@uu.nl). The mail should contain 1) your name; 2) student number; 3) e-mail address; 4) telephone number; 5) current Master track. Please note: the number of participants is limited to 40. Only the first registrations can be accepted.Mandatory for students in Master’s programme: NO.Optional for students in other Master’s programmes GS-LS:any other master programme with relevant basal courses.

Advanced Pharmacology

The course presents advanced topics of pharmacology, focusing on key elements essential in practical pharmacological research. Special attention will be paid to different receptor models and mathematical modeling of receptor phenomena. In addition, the relation between scientific experiments and knowledge is approached from a philosophy of science point of view.

Registration:
Send an e-mail to the course coordinator: G.M.H.Engels@uu.nl. The mail should contain 1) first name and surname; 2) student number; 3) e-mail address; 4) telephone number; 5) current Master or PhD track. Please note:the number of participants is limited to 20..
Mandatory for students in Master’s programme Drug Innovation: NO.Optional for students in other Master’s programmes GS-LS: the course is open to anyone having the prerequisite knowledge (including PhD students)

Design of anti-infective drugs

Are we in danger of falling back to the pre-antibiotic era? Can we deal with epidemics/pandemics of Ebola, Zika and Influenza virus? When will parasitic diseases like Malaria and Schistosomiasis be eliminated? These questions will be addressed in this course. Inspiring lecturers, like prof. Wim Hol from Washington University, and a challenging assignment: design a drug against a disease of choice, form the core of this course.
Subjects of the course are: virology, bacteriology, parasitology, biochemistry, structural biology, immunology, and especially medicinal chemistry.

Chemical Biology

The field of chemical biology lies at the interface of chemistry and biology. It uses chemistry, chemical principles, and notably molecules to study and solve important issues in biology. The course will focus on chemical and biological syntheses and behaviours of relevant molecules for chemical biology, primarily carbohydrates, peptides and nucleic acids, as well as their uses in addressing biological questions. Bio-orthogonal reactions and the use of the compounds derivatized as chemical probes will also be discussed. This course will also have an emphasis on critical reading of recent literature and presentation on this to the group.

Writing Assignment (7.5 ECTS)

Your writing assignment consists of either a literature review of a relevant topic or a project proposal of your own choice. A UU staff member with relevant expertise will supervise you during the process. The topic of the thesis should be different from any of the topics of your research projects.

Major (51 ECTS) and Minor Research Project (33 ECTS)

The two main components of our two-year Master’s programme are the minor (6 months) and major research projects (9 months). The topics of the research projects can be freely chosen in relation to drug innovation. Note that these topics prepare you for your specialisations and expertise. The aim of the projects is to train you as independent researcher.

Supervision

You will work under supervision of a post-doc or advanced PhD student and participate as member of the research team. A project can involve practical work at a laboratory (most projects) or handling data from questionnaires or databases (e.g. pharmacoepidemiology). You will work on a well-defined project, practising, designing, planning and performing the research, collecting and interpreting data, drawing conclusions, and reporting orally and by writing reports. This often also involves taking part in work discussions and journal club meetings in order to become skilled in ‘how to perform research correctly’.

Traineeship abroad

The minor research project can also be achieved internationally. The staff of the Utrecht University Life Sciences groups have access to extensive international networks of scientific collaboration with universities, research institutes, or companies abroad. The staff can help you with making choices and introduce/recommend you. We encourage our students to complete a traineeship abroad.

Alternatively, the minor research project (Research profile) may be replaced by a specialisation in Experimental Pharmacology, Drug Regulatory Sciences, or by Management (M profile), Teaching and Communication (C&E profile), Applied data Science profile, Bioinformatics profile, or Complex systems profile.