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Bio-Pharmaceutical Sciences - Leiden University

Drug Discovery and Safety (MSc)

Why Leiden University?

We are committed to provide you with meaningful, rigorous and quality graduate experiences in a personalized environment with a cutting edge research infrastructure and internationally renowned supervisors.

Primary overarching research themes involved in Drug Discovery and Safety

Two major research themes of the division of Drug Target and Safety of the Leiden Academic Centre for Drug Research involved in the master’s specialisation Drug Discovery and Safety are:


To effectively design new drugs, understanding the mechanism by which potential drug targets affect the development and progression of disease at the molecular level is essential. The Division of Toxicology unravels these mechanisms, particularly in the area of (breast) cancer metastasis, drug resistance and drug safety. After screening of candidate drug targets using a ‘systems microscopy’ approach, promising targets are evaluated in clinically relevant models and patient material, in close collaboration with clinical centers.

Medicinal Chemistry

Medicinal Chemistry involves work on the design, synthesis and evaluation of new compounds that modulate G protein-coupled receptor activity (GPCRs). Essential is that these compounds meet specific requirements that enable them to work effectively as medicinal agents. To this end, a ‘chemical biology’ approach is pursued in which synthetic chemistry, new developments in bio- and cheminformatics, biochemistry/molecular biology and pharmacology are combined. Finally, the interaction with their targets is modelled and evaluated at atomic resolution for a more rational approach of drug design.

As a master’s student BPS Drug and Target Discovery you will be involved in the research of the division of Drug Target and Safety. Learn more about the research themes.

Faculty of Science

The Faculty of Science is a first-class research faculty with an excellent position in the basic disciplines of science. The current research and education programmes span the entire spectrum of science ranging from Mathematics and Statistical Science, Computer Science and Data Science, Astrophysics, Physics, Chemistry and Bio-Pharmaceutical Sciences to Biology and Environmental Sciences. Our science community is driven by their curiosity and desire to increase basic knowledge, for science and to contribute to the great societal challenges of today and tomorrow. Core values are scientific impact, technological innovation and relevance to society. 

Study at a world-class university

Leiden University is the oldest university in the Netherlands and enjoys an excellent worldwide reputation built up over more than four centuries. Since 1575 we’ve provided sound personal education for hundreds of thousands of students. We’ll do our utmost to give you the best possible support. And if you can and want to do more, we’ll challenge you every step of the way. For many years, we’ve been among the leaders in Dutch university rankings and we are currently to be found in a variety of top international rankings too.

More reasons to choose Leiden University

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