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 with an emphasis on the societal perspective. The course will be on cancer development, diagnosis, and treatment and on a societal (public health) perspective on cancer, with emphasizes on the late effects of cancer and its treatment, rehabilitation and return to work and palliative care issues.

Toxicology and Development: Studies the impact of substances in daily life products on human health. Special focus is given on effects on early development and reproduction. We will start with assessing human exposure using analytical chemistry; furthermore toxic modes of action of commonly found substances will be linked to diseases. At the end social impacts and appropriate health care measures are discussed. Hands- on practical work will be used for all aspects throughout the course. A scientific health symposium with real life scientists organized by the students will end the course.

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

Admission and registration

Students in Health Sciences, Biomedical Sciences, Medical Natural Sciences and Medicine from VU Amsterdam can apply. Students from other universities and doing a similar education are also invited to participate. Of the VU Health and Life Sciences students, only those with Major Health Sciences and Biomedical Sciences can apply. VU Biomedical Sciences’ students can complete the minor without Toxicology by choosing a course that is part of another faculty minor for which they fulfill the requirements for admission.

This minor has a maximum of 65 participants on basis of first come first serve. This maximum is based on the maximum size of several courses within this minor. In order to take the minor, please sign in for the minor before 1 July. As soon as the registration period opens, you also need to register for the courses in the minor. Participation in the minor is assured only after successful registration for all courses. 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