Neuro- and Psychopharmacology


Course Objective

Principal aim of the course is to provide the student with sufficient
insight into the basic principles of Neuro- and Psychopharmacology, in
order to enable the student to independently formulate ideas and
concepts which may lead to the development of innovative drug therapies.
The subjects of the course are largely drawn from research themes of the
Neuroscience Campus Amsterdam of the Vrije Universiteit and VU
University Medical Center.
Specific aims:
A) Students are able to describe the pathology of the disease and
know which biological mechanisms are the driving forces underlying the
B) Students are capable of pinpointing possible therapeutic entries
of the disease, and can argue whether and how the therapy will affect
these therapeutic entries.
C) Students are able to defend and motivate their therapeutic
strategy in front of fellow students and teachers.

Course Content

Current pharmacotherapy of well known neurologic- and psychiatric
disorders is based on the use of drugs of which the development has
been guided by, often unproven, hypotheses concerning the
pathophysiology of these diseases. As a result, despite a few "success
stories", in most cases this has led to the introduction of
suboptimally effective compounds. Moreover, these "therapeutics" do not
cure the disease, but merely act to ameliorate the symptoms. However,
in light of the increasing knowledge concerning the pathogenesis of
brain disorders, it now seems highly feasible that in the near future
drugs will be developed which will target the core of the disease
During the course, a small number of lectures will provide the student
with detailed knowledge and insight into the hypotheses that have
guided the development of the current generation of neuro- and
psychopharmaceuticals. Subsequently, the student will be expected to 1)
independently identify the strong points and weaknesses of these
hypotheses, and 2) use the conclusions of this evaluation, in
combination with recent developments in the field, to formulate a well-
based proposal for the development of a new pharmacotherapy for a
specific brain disease.

Teaching Methods

Lectures (approximately 19h), progression meeting with supervisor
(approximately 3h),
'defend your idea' presentation, writing a thesis and preparing final
presentation (approximately 96h). In
total, the students are expected to invest a workload of 20 hour each
week during this course.

Method of Assessment

Pharmacology exam (1/4 of mark, in writing), writing (1/2 of mark) and
public presentation (1/4 of mark) of thesis.

Entry Requirements

Medical Pharmacology course or equivalent.


- Teaching Resource Centre Pharmacology (TRC app available free in the
App store or Itunes, or via Google Play for Android)
- Additional texts provided during the course

Additional Information

A maximum of 24 students can be accommodated in the course. Preference
is given to students who participate in the Master of Neuroscience
program of the VU University Amsterdam. Course is taught in English.
For further information please contact dr. M. Wilhelmus

General Information

Course Code AM_470718
Credits 6 EC
Period P2
Course Level 500
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator dr. M.M.M. Wilhelmus
Examiner dr. M.M.M. Wilhelmus
Teaching Staff dr. M.M.M. Wilhelmus

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Lecture