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EducationMaster's and PhD degree programmesMolecular Medicine and Innovative Treatment
Header image Molecular Medicine and Innovative Treatment

Molecular Medicine and Innovative Treatment

(Previously Medical and Pharmaceutical Drug Innovation)

How can we make use of the immune system in order to target cancer? How does early life nutrition impact metabolic health in adulthood? How can microorganisms help fight against infectious diseases?

In this selective two-year master programme, research-minded students are trained to become the next generation of successful scientists in academia and private section environments. Students will be challenged with exciting cutting-edge research and methodologies and will learn how to critically read the literature, design novel research questions, translate hypotheses into testable research plans, and write scientific essays.

As a student you can focus on your interests and ambitions by participating in one of the following specializations after the first semester:

  • Oncology
  • Neuroscience
  • Infection and Immunity
  • Nutrition and Metabolism
  • Systems Medicine
  • Drug Innovation
Facts & Figures
Degree
MSc in Molecular Medicine and Innovative Treatment
Course type
Master
Duration
24 months (120 ECTS)
Croho code
60617
Language of instruction
English
Start
September
Faculty
Medical Sciences
Why study this programme in Groningen?

If you choose to study MMIT at the University of Groningen, this is what you can expect:

  • a challenging multidisciplinary and intercultural approach to problem solving
  • participate in a specialization of your choice
  • teaching by top-researchers
  • small students cohorts
  • lots of individual contact
  • large data cohorts
  • two major (international) research internships are part of the programme
  • possibility of obtaining a fully funded three-year PhD position
  • strong focus on and guidance in personal development
Programme

To get an impression of the courses offered, go to https://www.rug.nl/ocasys/rug/vak/showPos?opleiding=5147

Courses
Extension Research Project I or Elective course (5 EC)
Introduction to Research Project I (2 EC)
Research Project I (30 EC)
Topclass I: Mechanisms of disease and innovative therapies (11 EC)
Topclass II: Experimental techniques in research (9 EC)
Topclass III: Fit for Practice (3 EC)

To get an impression of the courses offered, go to https://www.rug.nl/ocasys/rug/vak/showPos?opleiding=5147

Courses
Elective courses (10 EC)
Extension Research Project II or Elective course (5 EC)
Introduction to Research Project II (2 EC)
Research project II (30 EC)
Topclass IV: Design of research projects (5 EC)
Topclass V: Writing and defining your own PhD proposal (8 EC)

Study load

40 hours of class and self-study per week on average

Curriculum

Embedded in both the University Medical Center Groningen and the Groningen Research Institute of Pharmacy, MMIT offers excellent facilities for (pharmaco)genomics, proteomics and in vivo(animal) and in vitro(cell) imaging. This direct interplay of the clinical, medical, and pharmaceutical sciences is what makes MMIT unique as well as the possibility to choose a specialization after the first semester. At the end of the second year, you will write and defend your own research proposal.

Programme options
Neuroscience (specialization)

How do neurodevelopmental disorders arise and are they reversible? How is organismal or central nervous system ageing involved in neurodegenerative disorders?

In this specialization, students will be exposed to a range of topics in the field of neurobiology, ranging from fundamental neurobiology, basic research, to more (pre)clinical translational research. We aim to unravel the (epi)genetics basis of the central nervous system (CNS) disease and the underlying cell biological defects in the context of various conditions and disorders are addressed in animals and humans.

For detailed information on neuroscience-associated research, please go to the Department of Neuroscience and the Department of Cell Biology: http://neuroscience.umcg.nl/en/ http://cellbiology.umcg.nl

For information and guidance on Neuroscience research, please contact the Neuroscience specialization coordinator dr. Bart Eggen (b.j.l.eggen umcg.nl).

Oncology (specialization)

How is cellular and/or organismal ageing involved in cancer development? What are the long-term adverse effects of treatment in cancer survivors and how can we prevent this?

In this specialization, students will focus on a range of aspects in the field of cancer biology, spanning the entire scope from rather fundamental basic research to (pre)clinical translational research and ultimately clinical trials. We aim to unravel the molecular mechanisms that determine malignant transformation of solid and hematological tumors and to translate these fundamental insights into improved early detection and treatment of cancer.

For detailed information on oncology-associated research, please go to the Cancer Research Center Groningen: https://www.umcg.nl/EN/Research/InstitutesProgrammes/CRCG/Programmes/Paginas/default.aspx

For information and guidance on Oncology research, please contact the Oncology specialization coordinator prof. dr. J.J.Schuringa (j.j.schuringa umcg.nl).

Infection and Immunity (specialization)

What are the detrimental and beneficial roles of microorganisms in human health and disease? How can we exploit this knowledge in the prevention and fight against infectious diseases?

In this specialization, students can unravel the mechanisms underlying immune-mediated chronic diseases by translation of basic immunological concepts into clinical practice (and vice versa). Students become involved in contributing to personalized and precision medicine for infectious and immune-mediated diseases. Students will address a wide variety of research topics ranging from the roles of microbes in the etiology of major autoimmune disorders to the genetics of celiac disease.

For detailed information go to the Groningen University Institute for Drug Exploration, Microbes in Health and Disease. https://www.umcg.nl/EN/Research/InstitutesProgrammes/GUIDE/Paginas/default.aspx https://www.umcg.nl/EN/Research/InstitutesProgrammes/GUIDE/Programmes/Paginas/MHD.aspx

Nutrition and Metabolism (specialization)

Is every calorie the same? Does healthy obesity exist? Via which pathways does an unbalanced diet lead to diseases? What is the best nutrition during health and illness?

The prevalence of metabolic disorders increases with age and changes in lifestyle. Metabolic disorders have a causal role in liver, digestive and cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and other age-related chronic diseases, and are therefore an important cause of morbidity. In this specialization, students are involved in basic and (pre)clinical translational research in the field of nutrition and metabolic diseases. Students learn to understand the physiological, pathophysiological, and developmental basis of metabolic diseases with the aim to identify interventional targets and to design new evidence-based strategies to prevent, treat or deal with the consequences of these diseases.

For detailed information go to the Center for Liver, Digestive, and Metabolic Diseases and the Groningen Kidney Center. https://www.umcg.nl/EN/Research/InstitutesProgrammes/GUIDE/Programmes/Paginas/LiverDigestiveMetabolicDiseases.aspx https://www.umcg.nl/EN/Research/InstitutesProgrammes/GUIDE/Programmes/paginas/Khis.aspx

For information and guidance on research within the UMCG and GRIP, contact the Medical Nutrition and Metabolic Disease specialization coordinator Dr. Janine Kruit (j.k.kruit umcg.nl).

Systems Medicine (specialization)

What is the central role that computational methods play in all biological and medical fields?

Computational methods are as diverse as the questions and problems which they tackle. In this specialization, the students gain an overview of a broad spectrum of computational methods and strategies including top-down approaches to analyze and model genome scale data, and bottom up approaches to study the detailed dynamics of molecular networks, from basic biology to clinical studies. In doing so we will cover multi-scale data across the genome, transcriptome, proteome and metabolome. The needs and constraints for acquisition of quantitative data at all scales will be covered, as much as the differences in computational approaches used to analyze different data types.

For detailed information go to the Section of Systems Medicine of Signaling and Metabolism: https://www.umcg.nl/EN/Research/Researchers/institutes_programmes/paginas/default.aspx

For detailed information on bioinformatic and systems research and guidance on where to conduct your computational research of choice, contact the Medical Systems Biology and Bioinformatics specialization coordinator prof. dr. Kathrin Thedieck (k.thedieck umcg.nl).

Drug Innovation (specialization)

Are you interested in finding new and innovative drugs and therapies and do you wish to improve the use of existing drugs?

The disciplines covered in this track circle around the theme: 'molecules for patients'. Students are encouraged to bridge the gap between the fundamental natural sciences (such as chemistry and physics) and the medical/clinical sciences in the field of medicinal products. This specialization contributes to the entire field of the pharmaceutical sciences, from basic areas such as chemical analysis and synthesis to pharmaceutical practice and patient-oriented research. Knowledge from different research disciplines is combined in the design and evaluation of optimal drugs, products and therapies that are being made available to society. Research in this specialization is of high societal impact with several drugs or related products developed in-house on the market or in clinical trials, several spin-offs, a strong portfolio of patents and research that contributes directly to healthcare policymaking.

For detailed information go to the Groningen Research Institute of Pharmacy: http://www.rug.nl/research/grip/

For information and guidance on Drug Innovation research, please contact the Drug Innovation specialization coordinator prof. dr. Frank Dekker (f.j.dekker rug.nl ).

Study abroad

  • Study abroad is optional

Students are encouraged to perform their second research proposal abroad, further enhancing their international experience. Previously students have done this at:

  • Children's Hospital Boston
  • Harvard Stem Cell Institute
  • Institute of Pharmaceutical Science, King's College London
  • J.W. Goethe University Hospital, Frankfurt am Main
  • KU Leuven
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • University Hospital Freiburg
  • University of Cambridge
  • University of Colorado
  • University of Oxford
Entry requirements

Admission requirements

Specific requirementsMore information
assessment interview

The selection committee makes a first evaluation and decides which students will be invited for an interview. During the interview students will be asked to:

  • explain their motivation
  • present their BSc thesis
  • present a scientific paper
language test

Students who hold a VWO level high school diploma including English, meet the English language requirements.

reference letter

Students will need to submit one academic reference.

written requestNo further information

Registration procedure

After you complete your application, the selection committee will assess whether your educational/academic background meets the specific programme requirements. If so, students are required to submit a letter of motivation and one letter of recommendation from an academic. After evaluating these documents, the selection committee decides whether a student is invited for an interview.

You can find an overview of the entire application process and procedure here.

For enrollment, please note that you have to apply for the programme via Studielink. Students with a Dutch degree should, after applying via Studielink, send an email to mmit umcg.nl for further instructions about the application procedure.

Transfer options

Study programmeOrganizationTransition
Biomedische WetenschappenAll Research universitiesAdditional requirements
PharmacyAll Research universitiesAdditional requirements
Pharmaceutical SciencesAll Research universitiesAdditional requirements
Life Science and TechnologyAll Research universitiesAdditional requirements
BiologyAll Research universitiesAdditional requirements
Molecular Life SciencesAll Research universitiesAdditional requirements
Study programmeOrganizationTransition
BiologyUniversity of GroningenNo additional requirements
PharmacyUniversity of GroningenNo additional requirements
Life Science and TechnologyUniversity of GroningenNo additional requirements
Medicine, profile Molecular MedicineUniversity of GroningenNo additional requirements

Admission requirements

Specific requirementsMore information
assessment interview

The selection committee makes a first evaluation and decides which students will be invited for an interview. During the interview students will be asked to:

  • explain their motivation
  • present their BSc thesis
  • present a scientific paper
language test

Students must meet the English language requirements stated below:

  • IELTS overall band 6.5, no less than 6.0 on each section
  • TOEFL paper based 580, no less than 55 on each section
  • TOEFL computer based 237, no less than 21 on each section
  • TOEFL internet based 92, no less than 21 on each section
  • Cambridge English: Cambridge certificate C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency (formerly known as CAE/CPE)
  • University of Groningen LCET: Minimum section scores C2 or C1 (one B2 allowed) See: https://www.rug.nl/language-centre/testing-unit/english-lcet/
  • International Baccalaureate, with English as the medium of instruction

Please note that TOEFL MyBest Scores are not considered in the Admissions procedure

previous education

Bachelor's degree in the fields of biology, pharmacy, life science and technology or (bio)medical sciences.

reference letter

One letter of recommendation from an academic must be submitted.

written requestNo further information
other admission requirements

Non-EU students may apply for a scholarship for MMIT. The process of obtaining a scholarship is highly selective and non-EU students will need to indicate within their letter of motivation whether they depend on a scholarship in order to be able to enrol in MMIT or not. Furthermore it is wise to motivate why we should select you for a scholarship.

Language requirements

ExamMinimum score
C1 Advanced (formerly CAE)C1
C2 Proficiency (formerly CPE)C2
IELTS overall band6.5
TOEFL paper based580
TOEFL computer based237
TOEFL internet based92

Registration procedure

After you complete your application, the selection committee will assess whether your educational/academic background meets the specific programme requirements. If so, students are required to submit a letter of motivation and one letter of recommendation from an academic. After evaluating these documents, the selection committee decides whether a student is invited for an interview.

You can find an overview of the entire application process and procedure here.

For enrollment, please note that you have to apply for the programme via Studielink. Students with a Dutch degree should, after applying via Studielink, send an e-mail to mmit umcg.nl for further instructions about the application procedure.

If you are applying with a foreign (non-Dutch) degree, please finalize your application in our Online Application System. More information about which steps to take as an international student can be found here.

Application deadlines

Type of studentDeadlineStart course
Dutch students01 May 202001 September 2020
EU/EEA students01 May 202001 September 2020
non-EU/EEA students01 March 202001 September 2020
Tuition fees
NationalityYearFeeProgramme form
EU/EEA2019-2020€ 2083full-time
non-EU/EEA2019-2020€ 15500full-time
EU/EEA2020-2021€ 2143full-time

Practical information for:

After your studies

Job prospects

Upon completion of this programme you are fully prepared to become a successful scientist. Most graduates continue with PhD research. In fact, you will have the opportunity to obtain a PhD scholarship at the University Medical Center Groningen. Others find a PhD position at other prestigious universities or start to work as a scientist in industry or the private sector.

Research

Research during the Molecular Medicine and Innovative Treatment programme

The educational programme has six specializations, which are associated with the research institutes of the UMCG. Each specialization covers the entire spectrum of the research process. At the end of the programme, students write their own grant proposal and the most successful proposals will be awarded funding to conduct their PhD research.

The six specializations are:.

  • Oncology
  • Neuroscience
  • Infection and Immunity
  • Nutrition and Metabolism
  • Systems Medicine
  • Drug Innovation

Here's what our students say about their research projects during the MMIT programme:

Lisette van Os (21)

- ‘I chose somewhat of my own path within the master programme. While completing the bachelor Life science & technology I got intrigued by regenerative medicine, which deals with the self-healing of organs and cells. Ultimately, this led me to want to research the role that cells and the extracellular matrix play in the lung disease Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, or IPF.'

Wellington Candido (28)

- ‘I am focussing my research on kidney transplantations and the way we can decrease the damage that occurs when the kidney is outside of the body. That can run up to hours since donor organs can come from any one of the other European countries. As it is on its way to the receiving patient, the kidney starts to deteriorate. What is going on in that time in the cells?’

Jolanda Smit, programme director

- With the six different specializations, students are given freedom to focus on the fields of their interest. Each specialization will be presented at the beginning of the programme and students can decide if they want to participate in a specialization or follow a general programme. Students are assigned a mentor who helps them with decision making. Before students enter their first research project, they are asked to arrange a personal interview with three UMCG/GRIP professors of their choice. ‘That is where your motivation and independent decision making comes in again. You have to argue –via an oral presentation- which of the three laboratories suits your research ambitions the best.’

Apply nowBrochureEventsContact

Contact

If you want to know more about the programme Molecular Medicine and Innovative Treatment, please contact:

  • Graduate School Of Medical Sciences
    Email: gsms rug.nl
  • 
						Testimonial of Lisette van Os, student

    'The right combination of proteins can save lives'

    – Lisette van Os, student
    Read more

    Lisette van Os (21) just finished her first year of the Molecular Medicine and Innovative Treatment (MMIT) master programme with top marks. Now she is ready for the next step. 'I'm going to California to research the forces and interactions between cells and proteins in fibrosis.'

    The master student emphasises that she’s somewhat off the beaten track, considering that within the six specializations MMIT offers, her research does not exactly fit any of them. ‘I chose somewhat of my own path within the master programme. While completing the bachelor Life Science & Technology I got intrigued by regenerative medicine, which deals with the self-healing of organs and cells. Ultimately, this led me to want to research the role that cells and the extracellular matrix play in the lung disease Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, or IPF.'

    Cells and health
    Lisette explains: ‘This disease of the respiratory system causes lung tissue to indurate, eventually filling up the lungs until breathing is impossible. Modern science doesn’t know what exactly causes IPF, only that the matrices surrounding the cells cause them to overproduce proteins, which form scar tissue. Ideally, we would discover a protein to influence the disease so that the cells stay healthy and supple.’

    Pauline van Wachem-award
    Her supervisor during the research projects is Principal Investigator Janette Burgess, who is specialized in lung disease and regenerative medicine. They already met during Lisette’s bachelor years, and met again in the first period of the master programme. She was the one that urged Lisette to send in an abstract of her research for the annual congress of the Dutch Matrix Biology Society. Not only was Lisette invited to speak to researchers and PhD-students from all over the world, she was also awarded best junior speaker.

    California
    ‘I will continue the research, but expanded to fibroses in general,’ Lisette states. Her visa for the United States just came through. In November she starts working with Elliot Botvinick, professor in Biomedical Engineering at the university of California Irvine. ‘He has high tech microscopes that can measure the forces and interactions between cells and proteins.’

    Choose your track
    Does she have any advice for future MMIT students? ‘In the first semester the Principal Investigators introduce the specializations and their specific research interests within these specializations. Oncology, Neuroscience, Infection and immunity, Nutrition and Metabolism, Systems Medicine, and Drug Innovation. Choose the specialization that sparks your interest and aspirations, or find a way to follow your interests outside of the beaten paths. Being “specializationless” worked out great for me.’

    Close
  • 
						Testimonial of Wellington Candido, student

    'MMIT is in many ways science without borders'

    – Wellington Candido, student
    Read more

    Back home in Brazil, Wellington Candido studied Medicine. An exchange year led him to the Netherlands, where he spent most of his days in the laboratories of the University Medical Center Groningen. In 2016 he returned to participate in the top-master Molecular Medicine and Innovative Treatment (MMIT). 'I loved the days in the lab, it is fascinating what happens on a molecular level.'

    The last couple of week were busy ones for the 28-year-old. ‘I have just started my second internship,’ Wellington says. ‘I am focussing my research on kidney transplantations and the way we can decrease the damage that occurs when the kidney is outside of the body. That can run up to hours, since donor organs can come from any one of the other European countries. As it is on its way to the receiving patient, the kidney starts to deteriorate. What is going on in that time in the cells?’

    Science is team effort
    This second-year research is one of the main components of the master’s programme. Ultimately, it will lead to the student writing a PhD-proposal. ‘The programme asks a lot of self-study and hours in the lab. Ultimately, you learn how to be a scientist. But,’ Wellington emphasizes, ‘you don’t make science alone. During classes, students are stimulated to be pro-active and to present their research methods, facts and figures to top-researchers and fellow students. Everyone thinks along, asks questions and offers a new perspective. Because when you only take your own opinions in mind, chances are that your research is too restricted.’

    Molecules
    The focus of the study is molecular biology and the unravelling of the molecular mechanisms that determine health and illness. With the internships, students are free to follow their aspirations, even to perform the second research proposal abroad and further enhancing their international experience. For the first internship Wellington worked in the characterization of mutations in breast and ovarian cancer. Currently he is doing his second project in the Experimental Nephrology, about kidney transplantation. Wellington chose to stay in the Netherlands since he is planning to combine research with clinical work: ‘MMIT has definitely changed the way I see and make science, and I will carry this with me in whatever I do in my future.’

    Some advice
    ‘Make sure you are willing to put in the time and effort. In the online course descriptions you can read all the information on each class and specialization. It is also important to keep organized and look up what deadlines are coming. And if you have any questions, the professors and other students are always willing to help.’

    Close
  • 
						Testimonial of Jolanda Smit, Programme Director

    'You can only find this specific combination of (bio)medical and pharmaceutical sciences here'

    – Jolanda Smit, Programme Director
    Read more

    Ambitious, motivated and talented: according to programme director Jolanda Smit, these words perfectly describe the students of the master programme of Molecular Medicine and Innovative Treatment (MMIT). 'The vast majority of our students aspire to an academic career and continue as a PhD student after graduation.'

    Prof. dr. Smit is responsible for the content, organisation and quality of the master’s programme and its different specializations. ‘MMIT is embedded within the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) and the Groningen Research Institute of Pharmacy (GRIP), combining (bio)medical and pharmaceutical sciences. Emphasis is on the field of (bio) medical sciences but students also learn the fundamentals of drug research. This unique combination allows students to not only obtain a thorough understanding of the mechanisms of diseases, but also gain an understanding into the development of novel innovative therapies.’

    Research skills
    The lectures are top-researchers from the UMCG and GRIP and teach students all indispensable research skills for the future. From critical reading and scientific writing to presenting, debating and making well-thought decisions. ‘Crucial for future top researchers is to be able to make decisions independently and in a well-reasoned manner. Students are guided in every step of the process,’ the professor says. ‘That way they learn to ask critical questions before deliberating on the next step, to formulate hypotheses and use these to perform experiments and gather evidence. In my personal experience and that of the other professors, there is nothing more fun than teaching MMIT students; they are highly motivated and eager to learn.’

    Which track to choose?
    With the six different specializations, students are given freedom to focus on the fields of their interest. Each specialization will be presented at the beginning of the programme and students can decide if they want to participate in a track or follow a general programme. Students are assigned a mentor who helps them with decision making. Before students enter their first research project, they are asked to arrange a personal interview with three UMCG/GRIP professors of their choice. ‘That is where your motivation and independent decision making comes in again. You have to argue –via an oral presentation- which of the three laboratories suits your research ambitions the best.’ For the second-year research project, students are encouraged to go abroad. All the knowledge and skills that you have obtained culminate at the end of the programme where students write and defend their own research proposal. The best students will be offered a PhD scholarship and have the ability to execute their own proposal. This is quite unique and obviously lots of fun.’

    Biologists, medics and pharmacists
    Fact: MMIT students come from different cultural and educational backgrounds. That shapes the master programme in a good way, prof. dr Smit adds. ‘This year we have welcomed students of 14 nationalities and different bachelor degrees. Yet they form a tight-knit community and learn a lot from each other. Looking at issues from different perspectives, they complement and strengthen each other’s knowledge.’

    Some advice
    ‘Yes, we have a selection procedure but do not be intimidated by this,’ prof. dr. Smit says. Students are screened on the basis of their CV, motivation letter and a letter of recommendation. Students that pass the requirements will be interviewed by the Admission board. During this interview - either in person or via Skype - applicants are asked to present a research project from their BSc study and an article. ‘The pressure is on, but just remember that you can prepare yourself well. Your motivation and talent for research are most important. Show them that you are a serious candidate.’

    Close
Student profile

MMIT offers research minded students with diverse educational backgrounds a multidisciplinary teaching and research environment. Are you driven to become a top (bio)medical researcher? Do you like to solve problems and are you a creative thinker? Do you feel at home in an international setting? Then the ambitious master Molecular Medicine and Innovative Treatment is just the right programme for you!