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Modern Drug Discovery


How are new drugs developed? This question is central to the Minor Modern Drug Discovery (MDD), which covers the entire trajectory from disease to drug molecule and vice versa. The various research groups involved offer a complementary and interdisciplinary perspective by connecting the diverse subjects in drug development into a coherent Minor. The main goal is to provide insight into novel drugs and their targets within the body. Students learn how to design, synthesize, formulate, administer and test a drug molecule before it may serve as ‘lead’ molecule for a future drug. These may be small molecules but also therapeutic proteins or vaccines may be considered. Moreover, (novel) targets are studied intensely via ‘omics’ approaches and bio-analysis of drugs. The drug development trajectory requires cooperation of various disciplines, which is shown by the fact that three different Bachelor studies from the Faculty of Science are involved in this Minor: MST, LST and BFW.

The following subjects are addressed in the Minor Modern Drug Discovery:

  • disease and molecular defects

  • ‘omics’ approaches

  • bio-analysis of drugs and their targets

  • formulation of drug molecules

  • administration of drugs

  • receptor- and enzyme systems

  • synthetic approaches

  • biological testing

These important parts are studied both in theory as well as in practice during the Minor programme. Based on interdisciplinary examples students learn various ways to identify and/or produce new ‘lead’ molecules that may serve as a basis for the development of new drug therapies.

When foreign students follow the Minor, all lectures and exams will be in English; students may however answer in Dutch.

Admission requirements

Admission criteria apply to this Minor (see Appendix 3 of the Education and Exam regulation BSc Programmes (OER)). It is only accessible to students in Bio-Pharmaceutical Sciences, Life Science & Technology and Molecular Science & Technology who have successfully completed their first-year examination (Propedeuse). In addition, the course ‘Organic Chemistry 2’, Chemical Biology 1 ‘, or an equivalent course must have been successfully completed before the start of the Minor.

This Minor consists of integrated courses and is meant to deepen the insight into drug discovery and development. The programme cannot be split into two parts of 15 EC.

Minimum/maximum capacity: 10/30. Since the number of students in laboratory courses is limited, the maximum number of students in this minor is strictly limited to 30. In case the number of applicants exceeds 30, a placement procedure applies; this procedure is described below.


Application occurs via uSis, between May 1st and June 15th 2016 and all students will remain on a waiting list in uSis until final placement. The class number required to enroll in uSis can be found (from beginning of April) via the Faculty Website Sign up for classes


  • Students from Leiden University of aforementioned programmes including all LST- and MST –students must register via uSis

  • Non LST- or MST-students from the Technical University Delft (TUD) or the Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) may register via the Application Form (available on this website from May 1st until May 31st 2016). For this category of students a maximum of 10 places is available in the minor MDD. From June 1st on, these students can register via the Minor Coordinator.

  • All students outside Leiden University, TUD or EUR should always apply via the Minor Coordinator between May 1st and June 15th 2016.

In view of the high number of applications on May 1st 2016, the Minor Modern Drug Discovery has a special placement procedure for students who register in uSis on May 1st 2016 between 00.00.01 o’clock and 08.59.59 o’clock:

  • All students who register in uSis on May 1st between 00.00.01 o’clock and 08.59.59 o’clock will be treated as if they registered at the same time and will be named ‘Group 1 MDD’.

  • All students who register in uSis on or after May 1st 2016 at 09.00.00 o’clock will be named ‘Group 2 MDD’.

  • ‘Group 1 MDD’ has priority over ‘Group 2 MDD’.

  • Within 5 working days after May 1st, all students in ‘Group 1 MDD’ will be assigned a random number (in the presence of the Educational Coordinator BFW/BPS and a student member of the Department Teaching Committee) and they will be reordered based on the assigned random number resulting in a so called ‘Lottery List MDD’. Placement in the Minor MDD is based on the ‘Lottery List MDD’, i.e. the student that has been assigned number one on the ‘Lottery List MDD’ will be admitted first and the highest number will be admitted last. The ‘Lottery List MDD will be made available to all students involved. Please note that the basic admission requirements as described above always apply.

  • Students with a number on the ‘Lottery List MDD’ from 1 to 19 (inclusive) are admitted directly if they meet the admission requirements.

  • Students with number 20, or a higher number, on the ‘Lottery List MDD’ may be placed in the order dictated by the ‘Lottery List MDD’ when less than 33% TUD or EUR students are admitted or whenever a position becomes available.

  • Students in ‘Group 2 MDD’ are placed when a position in the minor becomes available and the position cannot be filled by a student from ‘Group 1 MDD’. Placement of students from ‘Group 2 MDD’ is according to the original order of registration on the uSis waiting list (admission requirements as described above always apply).


Coordinator: [ Dr. C. Brouwer ]( mailto: )


  • The Minor Modern Drug Discovery starts on September 5th 2016 at 9.00 a.m. in a lecture hall of the Gorlaeus Laboratoria.