Systems pharmacology of human neuroendocrine disease entities
An important hormone excreting gland in the human body is the pituitary
The pituitary is in close contact with the hypothalamus and the secretion of hormones are tightly balanced and regulated. However, certain diseases disrupt this balance which may result in the hyper- or hyposecretion of hormones, resulting in a wide range of symptoms. This project focuses on how we can gain a better understanding of the complex relationship between hormones (e.g. growth hormone, prolactin) and what influence a disease or drug may have on this system.
During this PhD project at the Department of Pharmacology, multiple topics will be explored. New methods will be developed for the quantification of hormones that show a pulsatile profile, the drug effect of novel compounds that target the neuroendocrine system will be investigated and new models will be created to monitor changes in the secretion of hormones over time in healthy and disease states.
This research is in close collaboration with the Centre for Human Drug Research (CHDR), located in the Bio Science Park of Leiden. At the CHDR, phase 1 clinical trials are conducted from which we gain knowledge on the functioning of the neuroendocrine system after drug treatment. With the use of pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic (PKPD) models, we can quantify the drug effect that novel treatments have on the secretion of hormones in healthy volunteers. Additionally, we are interested in changes of the neuroendocrine system in patients where this system is dysregulated. By combining all the information that we have, we will be able to get an unique insight in the functioning of the human pituitary in different conditions.