How can AI make healthcare more human? How can we exploit the immune system to treat diseases? How does nutrition impact mental health? How can organoids help to reduce animal experimentation?
Study MMIT and be part of the next generation of successful scientists, joining a community dedicated to advancing medical knowledge and making a meaningful impact on the future of healthcare!
Discover the MSc Molecular Medicine and Innovative Treatment during Master's Week on November 23-24 and December 6, chat with teachers, students, and alumni during in-person and online sessions. Find out more and secure your spot here.
Questions? Reach out at mmit umcg.nl or via WhatsApp. We look forward to connecting with you!
The MSc Molecular Medicine and Innovative Treatment (MMIT) is a two-year selective programme designed to educate motivated students through a challenging and high-quality multidisciplinary curriculum. Whether you aspire to work in or outside academia, we will prepare you for a successful career in (bio)medical and pharmaceutical sciences. The programme is unique in that all the courses focus on how to become a successful independent researcher. Right from the start, you will learn to become a critical evaluator of current research, develop your own ideas, and define the kind of researcher you want to become.
MMIT offers a rare advantage by integrating clinical, medical, and pharmaceutical aspects. It covers a wide range of exciting topics in molecular and translational medical research such as Immunology and infectious diseases, drug innovation and development, neurobiology and neurodegenerative diseases, cancer biology and immune therapy, cardiovascular diseases, and bioinformatic and system medicine.
Do you want to become an entrepreneur, start your own company to advance the research idea or medical device that you designed during your Bachelor or Master’s project? The Innovative Medicine track track offers training for students to patent a research idea, write and pitch a business plan and finally bring it to the market.
The MSc Molecular Medicine and Innovative Treatment is housed at the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) and the Department of Pharmacy, and coordinated by the Graduate School of Medical Sciences (GSMS). Therefore, as an MMIT student, you will have access to state-of-the-art facilities for (pharmacy)genomics, proteomics, and in vivo and in vitro imaging.
Throughout the MSc Molecular Medicine and Innovative Treatment programme, we put a strong emphasis on interactive learning, fostering small-group discussions and collaborations, and acquiring transferable skills such as critical thinking, communication, problem-solving, etc. Your personal and professional development is our main focus.
Whether your interest lies in brain research, genetics, epigenetics, nanomedicine, microbiology, personalized medicine, or any other topic within (bio)medical and pharmaceutical sciences, as an MMIT student, you have the opportunity to tailor your studies to your specific interests and ambitions. After the first semester, you can also choose to specialize (or not!) in one of the following areas:
With the learning-by-doing principle at the core of our programme, you will have frequent interactions with our team of dedicated researchers and supervisors. This hands-on approach will provide you with practical experiences, creating an optimal learning environment and allowing you to quickly acquire new knowledge and skills.
To gain even more hands-on experience you will have the opportunity to complete two research internships, also called research projects, either at the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG), within the Netherlands, or abroad in the country of your choice or within our extensive international network spanning across Europe, Latin America, and Asia.
If you are seeking to make a difference in the field of modern medicine then MMIT is the ideal choice for you! Read on below for more information on the unique features of MMIT, the courses offered, the entry requirements, and the job prospects.
Contact us at mmit umcg.nl for any questions.
'You can only find this specific combination of (bio)medical and pharmaceutical sciences here'
Ambitious, motivated and talented: according to programme director Inge Zuhorn, 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. Zuhorn 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.’
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,’ prof. dr. Zuhorn says. ‘That way they learn to ask critical questions before deliberating on the next step, to formulate hypotheses and use these to design experiments and gather evidence. In my personal experience and that of the other teachers, there is nothing more fun than teaching MMIT students; they are highly motivated and eager to learn.’
Which specialization 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 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 researchers 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 can also go abroad or do an industrial internship. 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 students can compete for a PhD scholarship to execute their own proposal. This is quite unique and obviously lots of fun.’
Biologists, medics and pharmacists
MMIT students come from different cultural and educational backgrounds. That shapes the master programme in a good way, prof. dr Zuhorn adds. ‘This year we have welcomed students of 17 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.’
‘Yes, we have a selection procedure but do not be intimidated by this,’ prof. dr. Zuhorn 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.’
Tell us a bit about you
Hi! My name is Noortje and I am a recent graduate from the MMIT programme. I obtained my bachelor’s degree in Biology, majoring in Biomedical Sciences, here in Groningen. Groningen is the definition of a student city and as a result, there are loads of exciting opportunities to keep you busy. During my studies, I joined several committees at different student associations and became a competitive rower.
During the MMIT programme I was able to further explore this interest in various fields of biomedical research. I decided to continue with the oncology track and used my first research project to study the molecular mechanisms underlying acute myeloid leukemia. In my second year, I wanted to know more about gene regulation - as this is often disturbed in cancer - and was able to find an internship position at the University of Oxford in a lab that studied gene regulatory mechanisms. Specifically, I studied how the spatial organization of the chromatin affects gene expression.
Your proudest achievement during MMIT?
I was most proud of getting offered an internship position at the University of Oxford. I always wanted to do an internship abroad, but I would never have thought that Oxford was one of the possibilities. Working alongside the best scientists in the world was truly inspiring and an experience I will benefit from forever. Receiving the GUF-100 prize for best student of the Faculty of Medical Sciences was icing on the cake.
Your preferred aspect(s) of the MMIT programme?
I particularly liked the small group teaching and network that comes with it. You will have a lot of personal contact with teachers/professors so you can ask all the questions you want. Another aspect that is worth mentioning is the MMIT office, which is always willing to help with any issues that you encounter during your studies!
During course assignments you will usually receive personal guidance or feedback from (assistant) professors. I find this very valuable as you can learn a lot from interacting with professors. Like their perspectives on certain research topics, how the academic world is structured, how they think, or how they present and discuss their data. This will be very useful regardless of what kind of career you want to pursue.
How has MMIT prepared you for your career?
The MMIT programme has been instrumental for me in developing my research skills. During my first research project, I was very inexperienced and therefore often insecure about my research skills. However, in research, it is learning by doing, and therefore your learning curve is very steep. During my second research project in Oxford, I already felt much more confident and I got a lot of freedom to plan my own experiments and manage not one, but two, research projects.
MMIT prepared me for my future career mainly by letting me gain research experience. Not just by learning new lab techniques (I will probably not even use them anymore in the future) but more so by learning about science in general. Learning how to read the literature, how to critically evaluate research, how to plan a research project, how to interact with scientists and physicians, and how to write down and present your findings. These skills and experiences are fundamental for any career related to science – in academia and beyond.
Any tips for future MMIT students?
A useful strategy that has helped me throughout my entire study is networking! Don’t be afraid to email people who might be of interest to you or could help you find what you need - like an internship position. I once emailed a professor in my field of interest to ask for international contacts for an internship and she very quickly agreed to have a meeting to discuss my interests. Afterwards, she provided me with a whole list of people I could contact.
The MMIT programme is challenging but not outrageous. In general, I managed to complete all my coursework within 40 hours per week. What I very much appreciated was the fact that our deadlines were always on Fridays, so you can relax during the weekend. During the research projects (internships) you have a lot of freedom to plan your own agenda and decide how much time you want to spend on your project.
Noortje Van Dijk, MMIT Alumna, graduated in 2023
Tell us a bit about you
I'm Marcel Vieira-Lara, originally from São Paulo, Brazil. I hold a BSc in Molecular Sciences from São Paulo and pursued further studies in the Netherlands, obtaining an MSc in MMIT and a PhD in Systems Biology and Energy Metabolism in Groningen. After a postdoc in Biotechnology in Delft, I now serve as an Assistant Professor at TU Delft.
Beyond academia, my interests span nature, languages, cultures, sustainability, piano, and psychology to name a few. A fun fact: I grew up in the Brazilian countryside surrounded not only by cats and dogs but also by chickens and a rescued native terrestrial bird!
How did the MMI programme support your personal and professional growth?
By constantly challenging us with assignments outside of our (or at least mine!) comfort zone. A few examples were: (1) writing a literature review in a short period of time on a topic that time unknown to me, (2) writing, presenting and defending a PhD project in front of a reviewer committee. These were very powerful experiences with a steep learning curve that prepared me for the challenges that I encountered ahead. Another point worth mentioning is the Dutch directness. The feedback received was always straight to the point, which made it very valuable in terms of professional and personal development.
The MSc programme focuses on teamwork and team-building from day one. We had the opportunity to work side-by-side with colleagues coming from different corners of the globe, which made it a very enriching experience.
I have always been passionate about metabolism. I then pursued two internships in this field, where I had contact with techniques ranging from cell culture, gene editing and mass-spectrometry to computational modelling of pathways. Those practical skills were fundamental in my development as a researcher, both during my PhD as well as in my current career.
Tell us about the two research projects (internships) you did during the programme
In the MMIT programme we have the opportunity to conduct two research projects. During the first year of the programme, we attended seminars led by professors from various labs and departments within the UMCG. One of these seminars, presented by Prof. Barbara Bakker, caught my attention due to the quantitative reasoning on metabolic pathways. After getting in touch with her, I decided to conduct my first research in her group.
In this internship, I generated an in vitro model of medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency (a metabolic disease). I also contributed to the development of a computational model of the defective pathway in the liver, focusing on the metabolite coenzyme A. Such a combination of wet lab and modelling work served as a basis for a better understanding of underlying mechanisms and possible treatments for the disease. During this internship, I had the opportunity to collaborate with different groups within the UMCG. My thesis was entitled Coenzyme A Depletion in an inborn Fatty-Acid Oxidation Disorder.
Barbara assisted me in finding a supervisor for my second research internship, which I conducted at the University of Melbourne, Australia. The research focused on the crosstalk between a reserve carbohydrate and the pentose phosphate pathway in Leishmania, a pathogen that causes the neglected tropical disease leishmaniasis.
Where are you now?
After completing the MPDI programme, I pursued a PhD in Prof. Barbara Bakker's group, followed by a postdoc under the supervision of Prof. Jack Pronk at the Department of Biotechnology of TU Delft. In June 2023, I began my journey as an Assistant Professor in the same department. Currently, I am in the process of establishing my own research group, marking an incredibly exciting moment in my career.
In my case, I have always been drawn to an academic career, but many of my peers have pursued paths in industry. When I started the MPDI programme, I had no idea that I would be where I am today, roughly 8 years later. The programme has undeniably provided me with numerous opportunities for both professional and personal growth.
Marcel Vieira-Lara, Assistant Professor at Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), MMIT Alumnus, graduated in 2017
I have always believed the right education will give immense confidence and belief in oneself. The MMIT master programme has been that for me. I was able to pursue specific topics and had the opportunity to specialize in one of my interests later during the programme.
My time during the research projects was highly rewarding. Writing research proposals, working independently, presenting to the team, and brainstorming new ideas laid the fundamentals for a career in science.
Apart from science and academics, the self-development sessions with my mentor are something that I will cherish. They helped me introspect myself and set realistic goals. I became aware not only of my strengths but also of the places that I must work on to build myself. I learnt to trust my intuitions, believe in my abilities and constantly work on myself from the feedback I receive. This has shaped me and given me the preparedness to face the world.
Last but not least, the MMIT office is a wonderful team of women who are always around when you need them. Moving to another country to pursue a master's during the pandemic was a challenging experience for me, but the MMIT office made things smooth and always looked out for their students which I’m grateful for!
If you are someone who is interested in research, loves science, and wants to set foot into the research world, this master's is for you! MMIT guides you, moulds you and helps you to comfortably take your place in the world of research!
Anjana Sridharan, MMIT Alumna, graduated in 2019
After completing my bachelor's degree in biomedical sciences, I was unsure which specific path I want to follow. Luckily, MMIT offers six specializations, which are thoroughly presented at the beginning of the programme. Having heard from top-of-the-field researchers leading these specializations, I chose to follow the Oncology track.
After completing my bachelor's degree in biomedical sciences, I was unsure which specific path I wanted to follow. Luckily, MMIT offers six specializations, which are thoroughly presented at the beginning of the programme. Having heard from top-of-the-field researchers leading these specializations, I chose to follow the Oncology track.
During this track, I had the opportunity to expand my theoretical knowledge and learn about the latest research in the field, as well as participate in Oncology-related research myself. During this 6-month internship, I had the opportunity to work alongside and be introduced to the world of (oncology) research by inspiring (early-career) scientists at the UMCG. I believe this has strongly paved my way to pursuing a PhD degree in Medicine, which I am currently focusing on.
All in all, if given the chance, I would definitely choose the MMIT programme over and over again!
On top of all the transferable skills and experience I have gained at the UG/UMCG, I made a lot of good friends from all over the world, due to the multicultural environment in the MMIT programme.
Theodora Grosu, MMIT Alumna, Graduated in 2022