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Introduction Course Bio-Pharmaceutical Sciences: Drug & Target Discovery in Cancer



Aim of the course
This Course consists of a general part and a Research Cluster specific part that gives an overview of current research activities within the research cluster Drug & Target Discovery. After the theoretical part, the students will perform their research internship within one (or both) of the divisions of this LACDR research cluster, i.e. Toxicology or Medicinal Chemistry, and gain in-depth knowledge on one of their research topics.

Cancer is a leading cause of death, which is mainly due to the drug resistant phenotype of metastatic cells. The aim in the cluster is to understand the signaling processes and cellular behavior in metastatic cancer that drive cancer progression and that could be targeted by effective and safe therapy.
We therefore focus on understanding cell migration, proliferation, and (resistance to) death by therapeutics or immune cells. Our main emphasis is on the two most important classes of drug targets in cancer, i.e. kinases and G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). These targets are highly ‘druggable’, which we try to exploit in our drug discovery efforts.
Novel concepts of drug action such as allosteric modulation and target residence time are integrated in our research. This ‘new’ pharmacology enables a thorough preclinical evaluation, leading to a highly educated lead optimization. We employ a multidisciplinary approach to understand and improve drug action, including (tumor) cell biology, automated fluorescence microscopy, cheminformatics, chemistry, molecular pharmacology and computational biology.


Dr. J.B. Beltman and Dr. L.H. Heitman.

Admission requirements

First year Bio-Pharmaceutical Sciences master students

Mode of instruction

Lectures, computer exercises, writing of a project proposal, presentations and discussions. The course will be taught in English.

Reading list

Will be announced during the lectures.

Course objectives

Following the general introduction of the LACDR in the first week, the second part of this course specifically introduces the research activities within the cluster ‘Drug & Target Discovery’. The students will study the following topics:

  • Drug targets involved in cancer

  • Modelling of signal transduction

  • (Computational) target discovery

  • Lead optimization

  • In vitro drug activity

  • Drug safety

  • Preclinical animal models

Assessment method

Written project proposal (50%), written exam (50%). Attending the safety training is mandatory.


For students starting between February 2nd 2016 and September 1st 2016: September 2016. For students starting from September 2nd 2016 until February 1st 2016: February 2017, after consulting the Course Coordinator of the general part. For students starting after February 1st 2017: please consult the Course Coordinator of the general part.


Application via uSis for general part