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From signal transduction to targeted therapy

Course 2016-2017

Admission requirements

  • Basic understanding of signal transduction mechanisms (Biomedical Sciences Bachelor courses Cellular Communication, and Molecular Biology and Oncology).
  • Alberts B. et al, Molecular Biology of the Cell, 4th ed 2002, New York: Garland. Chapter 15.
  • Weinberg RA, The Biology of Cancer, Garland Science, Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. Chapters 5 and 6.
  • Successful completion of 3120321PPY (How to write a research proposal) is strongly recommended.


Period: to be announced (2017-2018)


The molecular basis of human diseases in particular disorders associated with misregulated TGF-beta family signaling will be studied, including cancer, fibrosis, osteoporosis, and pulmonary hypertention. In addition, identification and functional characterization of novel emerging diagnostic and therapeutic approaches will be discussed.


This four week course will take you through the successive steps on how basic discoveries are translated into clinical applications.
In the first weeks you will get an introduction into the aims of the course (what is signal transduction? what is targeted therapy?) and you will learn the basic concepts of signal transduction via an interactive tutorial. In addition, you will get lectures on different aspects of translational research (drug discovery and development, molecular imaging, animal models, clinical trials). Furthermore, you (the students) will analyse and present (in couples) scientific papers related to signal transduction research. The second week will also include an experimental data analysis assignment. In the second part of the course you will write a “News and Views” paper on a self chosen paper/topic related to the course, and present this in a “pitch-talk. Furthermore, you (in couples) will write a grant proposal in which a specific molecule/target is proposed for drug/clinical development. This will be done under guidance of a mentor. At the end of the 4th week each group will give a presentation on their proposal in a mini-symposium. During the course visits will be made to Biotechnology companies (involved in clinical trials). Also a senior scientist will be invited to discuss with students what it takes to be a successful scientist. In addition, two PhD students will discuss with students about their experiences doing research in the laboratory.


This course will in particular train the students in:

Research competences

Integrate different biomedical disciplines, recording, organizing and analyzing data, choosing appropriate techniques.

Professional competences

Commitment, motivation and drive, collaborating with peers, respecting the rules of the group. Ability to multi-task (work at several assignments, different topics during the course).


To learn how cells communicate with each other, how (molecular) signals are transduced between cells and into cells, how these processes regulate cellular functions, how misregulated signal transduction events lead to diseases, and how insights in these processes can be translated into targeted therapies providing personalized and more effective treatments for patients with less side effects.

Mode of instruction

Lectures, self-study, work groups.
A pro-active behaviour is expected from the student.

Information about assessment can be found on the Blackboardsite of this course.