Minor Research Project Radiopharmaceutical Chemistry


Course Objective

The aim is to obtain experience in scientific research including the
design and execution of experiments and to critically interpret and
reflect on the experimental results. The project will be conducted
within the field of Radiopharmaceutical chemistry in one of the
following settings:
- University or Academic hospital
- Research institute
- Company
The internship can be performed either within the Netherlands or abroad.

Course Content

The focus lies on the development and biological evaluation of novel
radiopharmaceuticals to study and profile a disease in vitro and in
vivo. Continuously new targets and drugs are being discovered and
developed. However, drug development is a complex process, which is time
consuming and often during late stage (phase II or III) clinical studies
a drug is not further developed.
Within the radionuclide center we have the unique opportunity to
synthesize PET tracers and study these radioactively labeled compounds
for their in vitro and in vivo behavior as well as the disease itself.
Drug lead compounds or analogues can be turned into PET tracers by
labeling the molecules of interest with carbon-11 and fluorine-18 for
small molecules or zirconium-89 for proteins and antibodies. Prior to
any radiolabeling for PET tracer synthesis, the precursor molecules need
to be synthesized, which requires state of art organic medicinal
chemistry. All disease areas can be studies using PET imaging, but
mainly comprise neurological or oncological disorders. Ultimately, the
use of radiopharmaceutical chemistry will allow a more rapid drug
development process since we can better understand both disease and the
in vivo behavior of drug.

During the traineeship, the student actively participates in a research
project as exerted by the host group/institute and entails one or more
of the following sub-disciplines:
1) Organic synthesis
2) Radiochemistry
3) Analytical chemistry
4) Molecular biology
5) Molecular pharmacology

The specific content of the project depends on the associated
supervisor(s), available projects on location and the timing of the

Attention will be paid to setting up new research/experiments, using
state-of-the-art experimental techniques, analyzing experimental results
and keeping adequate documentation. In all, the student will get exposed
to doing research as well as to contemporary specialist techniques.

Teaching Methods

Literature review, formulating a research question, conducting
experiments, keeping adequate documentation (e.g. labjournal), analyzing
data, reporting on results in progress/group meetings, in a written
thesis and final presentation within the research group.

Method of Assessment

Academic attitude, execution, oral presentation and written thesis

Entry Requirements

Entry requirements with respect to attained courses and number of
credits apply. See the Education and Examination regulations and the
internship manual Drug Discovery & Safety. For questions, consult the
internship coordinator well in advance (internships_sf.beta@vu.nl).
In addition, an internal radiation safety course will have to be
completed, including an exam, before the student is allowed to do
radiochemistry experiments. This training is a part of the internship.


Starting literature will be provided by the supervisor. The first 1-2
weeks of the traineeship will be spent on literature reading and
preparation for the project.

Target Audience

Research variant of all tracks within the master DDS

Additional Information

The length of a minor internship ranges from 18 to 36 EC (3-6 months)
and can be (partly) incorporated within the optional part of the master
program, although for traineeships abroad and in companies a length of
at least 30 EC is recommended. Consult the master coordinator of your
track well in advance to discuss your personal education plan. See the
“Master Drug Discovery & Safety Internship manual” for more information
(rules, regulations, tips, etc.) on the internship process. This manual
can be found on the canvas community “Master Drug Discovery & Safety”.

Custom Course Registration

The number of internal (VU) internship positions is limited. Candidates are selected based on their motivation letter and CV in an application procedure. The letter and CV should be received no later than 4 weeks before the desired start of the internship. See the canvas site “Master Drug Discovery & Safety” for more information regarding this application procedure. Be aware that selection procedures exist for most external positions as well. Before the start of the project an internship agreement has to be signed by all involved parties and the project proposal has to be approved by the VU supervisor. See the “Master Drug Discovery & Safety Internship manual” for more information on the rules and regulation regarding internships. If after reading the manual you still have questions regarding the process related to internships, admission, approval, etc., please contact the internship coordinator via internships_sf.beta@vu.nl.

General Information

Course Code XM_0049
Credits 30 EC
Period Ac. Year (sept)
Course Level 500
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator dr. D.J. Scholten
Examiner dr. D.J. Scholten
Teaching Staff

Practical Information

You cannot register for this course yourself; your faculty's education office carries out registration

Target audiences

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