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Introduction Course Bio-Pharmaceutical Sciences: Systems Pharmacology



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 Systems Pharmacology. After the theoretical part, the students will perform their research internship one (or both) of the divisions of this LACDR research cluster, i.e. Analytical Biosciences or Pharmacology, and gain in-depth knowledge on one of their research topics.

The overall aim of the research cluster is to personalize medicine based on translational models of systems pharmacology and pathology. The ultimate aim is to improve diagnosis and develop novel treatment options for patients. We have close collaboration with academic hospitals and access to patient samples.

The Master’s specialisation in Systems Pharmacology integrates systems biology with quantitative pharmacology. Our goal is to understand how exactly medicines affect the intricate (patho)physiological systems that underlie homeostasis and disease, in order to enable personalized medicine. To study this, we use a unique combination of 1) cutting edge analytical chemistry technology for the analysis of metabolites and biomarker discovery, based on separation sciences coupled to mass spectrometry, and 2) highly advanced computational modelling of disease progression and pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic drug mechanisms.
We offer the students a multidisciplinary environment in which analytical chemistry and pharmacology go hand in hand. It is a unique possibility to 1) developing state-of-the-art analytical technology and actually applying it to real-life case studies in the field of pharmacology and/or 2) developing disease or drug modelling concepts and support it with data obtained using state-of-the art analytical platforms.

The aim of the Division of Analytical BioSciences is to develop innovative analytical strategies to enable personalized health strategies. We aim to provide medical sciences with new methods to improve diagnosis and treatments. The primary focusing area of the Division of Analytical Biosciences is cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, and neurological syndromes. The two main research themes are:
1) Development of organ-on-a-chip systems for personalized medicine. For this, we develop microfluidic devices in which we grow organ tissue. We have a rapid prototyping facility, a clean-room and cell culturing facilities.
2)Development of novel analytical technologies for metabolomics and systems pharmacology. For this, we develop novel (electrodriven) separations in combination with mass spectrometry. We possess a highly well-equipped LC-MS and CE-MS laboratory.

The aim of the Division of Pharmacology is to develop novel concepts and theoretical frameworks that by extrapolation and prediction can be used for drug development and personalized therapies, on the basis of advanced understanding of factors that govern the fate of the drug in the body (pharmacokinetics) in relation to drug effects (pharmacodynamics). This also includes sources of intra- and inter-individual variability, for example resulting from disease condition/ progression. The research focusses on three themes:
3) Translational pharmacology (i.e. prediction of efficacy- safety from preclinical tests)
4) Clinical pharmacology, which is further subdivided into:

  • Developmental pharmacology (i.e. prediction of variability in drug response in special populations, such as children)

  • Disease systems analysis (i.e. prediction of drug effects on disease progression).


Dr. P.W Lindenburg en Dr. E.H.J Krekels

Admission requirements

First year Bio-Pharmaceutical Sciences master students

Mode of instruction

The overview of the research activities in the cluster occurs by means of lectures that are supported by computer exercises, all taking place in the first week after the general part. The thus acquired background information fully prepares the participating master students for the third part of the course, which involves the writing of their own project proposal in the third and fourth week. Project proposals are reviewed by individual supervisors and by fellow students. Finally, the students present and defend their proposals, after which they can start their first research project.

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 ‘Systems Pharmacology’. The students will study the following topics:

  • Analytical chemistry

  • Metabolomics

  • Mass spectrometry

  • Separation science

  • Biomarkers

  • Personalized medicine

  • Quantitative pharmacology

  • Population modelling

  • Physiology-based modelling

Assessment method

Active participation, a written exam, scientific writing and content of research proposal and presentation skills.