Biomedical topics in health care

From cell to society

From Cell to Society

The central question within the minor “Biomedical Topics in Health Care” is: How does biomedical knowledge support health care related solutions? The courses follow the development of medical interventions from basic science to the integration into routine clinical practice (“from Cell to Society”). Some courses focus more on the biomedical mechanisms of disorders and how human development is regulated and can be disturbed. Other courses focus more on health care aspects (prevention, diagnostics, care and treatment) and societal impacts. Students will learn more about the challenges and steps in translation of biomedical knowledge to public health and clinical practice.

Heart Failure and Therapy: This course aims to provide insights into the pathophysiologic mechanisms, diagnostic approaches and therapies and societal impacts of cardiovascular diseases. Cardiac diseases that will be highlighted include inherited cardiomyopathies, diastolic heart failure and ischemic heart disease. 

Neurological and Psychiatric Disorders: This course will highlight the etiology, diagnosis, care and treatment of of neurological and psychiatric disorders including Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, brain tumors, cerebrovascular accidents, ADHD, Asperger/PDD-NOS, Autism and Obsessive Compulsive disorders. 

Genetics and Public Health: Focuses on: different ways in which variations in DNA or chromosomes lead to disease, healthcare delivery in relation to genetic disorders (clinical genetics, genetic screening), and the impact of a hereditary disease on individuals, families and society. Challenges in the translation of new genetic knowledge into public policy and healthcare will be addressed, for example, regarding whole genome sequencing and gene editing. 

Oncology and Public Health: Focuses on oncology, from a "cell to society" perspective. Throughout the course, there is a shift from cancer development, diagnosis and treatment towards a societal (public health) perspective, with emphasizes on the late effects of cancer and its treatment, and rehabilitation and supportive care issues.

Toxicology and Neurodevelopment: Studies the development and important cascades of genes that play a pivotal role from gamete production to adolescence. Specific focus is on toxic compounds in our daily life that can disturb the balanced process of development. With hands-on practical work using zebra fish embryos, we will look into some of these effects (e.g. alcohol, rubber granulate). We will focus on how this information can be related to detection of toxicological agents using state-of-the-art molecular techniques. Examples of what can go wrong in pregnancy and thereafter is visualized by the Vrolik museum tour.

For specific information about each course, please visit our study guide.

Admission and registration


The minor is open to both Health Sciences students and Biomedical students from VU Amsterdam. Students from other universities and doing a similar education are also invited to participate. The minor is not recommended for VU Health and Life Sciences students. The minor is in English. We have a maximum of 65 students. Selection is based on the order of registration for the minor. Internal students have priority.


Please see the application procedure for more details.

Questions about the programme

For specific questions regarding the contents of this programme, please contact Lidewij Henneman:

Samenvatting Biomedical topics in health care




1 semester (30 EC)


1 September


Gedrag en Maatschappij
Gezondheid en Beweging