Specialisations | Biomedical Sciences | Maastricht University (2022)

Biomedical Sciences

After the first multidisciplinary block, students choose one of the following specialisations:

Biomedical Imaging
Genetics and Genomics
Inflammation and Pathophysiology
Neuromodulation
Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism
Regenerative Medicine

Specialisations | Biomedical Sciences | Maastricht University (1)

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Biomedical Imaging

Introduction
Imaging is increasingly and widely applied in biomedical studies and clinical practice.Imaging is the application of advanced visualisation tools to bridge the gap between the biomolecular pathways to human diseases.In this unique specialisation students are trained to apply advanced imaging techniques like Mass Spectrometry Imaging, Nanoscopy, Advanced Microscopy, PET and MRI in biomedical research.

With imaging, we are able to understand biological processes, support diagnosis, accessing effectiveness of current treatments and help in the development of new treatments. We have the unique opportunity to study organ function, such as movement of the heart. And we are able to follow a disease process in time, also before clinical symptoms occur.

As a biomedical scientist, specialised in imaging, you are a key person in solving physiological questions with novel imaging methods. You communicate with both clinicians and engineers and you apply state-of-the art imaging methods to clinical demands. You make sure that novel imaging methods can be directly applied in a (pre)clinical (research) environment.

Is this the right specialisation for me?
This specialisation is for students with a strong interest in the field of biomedical imaging and its wide application in the biomedical field. Together with experts in the fields, youfocus on the application of a broad range of imaging techniques in biomedical and (translational) clinical research and use these techniques to answer specific questions related to oncology, neurology, cardiovascular disease, metabolic disordera, just to name a few applications.

Duringinternships, you have the opportunity to contribute to projects related to cancer,neurodegenerative, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. The excellence of imaging infrastructure and expertise at Maastricht UMC+ is recognised worldwide.

What will I learn?
Within this specialisation, you learn how to apply novel technologies to biomedical sciences to solve a biomedical research question. You also learn the basic principles of the imaging modalities, so you can make correct choices of imaging methods for specific questions. The focus is really on the biomedical problem and not so much on the underlying methodology/technology.

The courses within the specialisation offer interactive teaching to learn from expert researchers, hands-on experiments through practicals, lab visits, workshops, projects, interaction with clinicians, and internships in our research laboratories.

What are my career prospects?
The worldneeds highly skilled scientists to apply imaging to scientific research, and within the clinic.Thisspecialisation prepares you for a career at a university, in different research institutes affiliated with academic organisations, companies (biomedical and pharmaceutical companies; medical devices) anduniversity hospitals.

Programme
Course 1: Pre-clinical Imaging
Thisfirst course is focused on pre-clinical imaging, which ranges from ex vivo imaging of a single molecule to in vivo imaging of animal models. The course aims to give youinsight into the basic principles as well as the biomedical applications of ex vivo and noninvasive in vivo imaging techniques. Imaging techniques that will be discussed are mass spectrometry imaging (MSI), electron and light microscopy (EM and LM), ultrasonography, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Computed Tomography (CT), and nuclear imaging (Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (PECT) and Positron Emission Tomography (PET).

(Video) Why you SHOULD study biomedical science | topics & skills you will learn + career options

You learn to prepare samples, acquire, transform, analyse and utilise various imaging modalities to visualise sub-cellular structures up to whole animal imaging. Combined, these preclinical research methods pave the way for new diagnostic approaches required for personalised and systems medicine.

Within this course you will design a project to learn how to solve a biomedical research question with advanced imaging. The distinctive (molecular) imaging infrastructure at the Maastricht UMC+ is available for students, who will have the opportunity to meet and interact with experts in the imaging field.

Course2:Clinical Imaging
This second course in this specialisation focuses on the application of imaging to address physiological and pathological disease processes in man in a clinical (research) setting. Imaging technologies provide increasingly accurate detail on morphology, structure, function and dynamics of living systems. In life sciences and (translational) clinical research, the use of (diagnostic) imaging technologies has become increasingly widespread and has now also entered the area of prevention and therapy monitoring.

This course focuses on imaging in treatment decisions based on molecular clinical diagnostic information and patient images. Clinical imaging focuses on in vivo imaging, image-guided interventions/biopsies and molecular tissue pathology and morphology. This courseaddresses translational aspects from systems biology to in vivo imaging of the patient with MRI/MRS and other radiological methods.

Youwill be introduced to the concept of radiomics in which imaging features are extracted from medical images. Intraoperative diagnostics and image-guided surgery are studied as innovative approaches that put molecular analytical information in the hands of medical practitioners. This course teaches biomedical scientists to be the interface between imaging technology and the clinic. Moreover, this course provides a translational / clinical environment to teach students to work side-by-side with clinicians on innovations in systems medicine.

More information
For more information on admission, please contact our master admission office.

Ask a student

Mandana chose the specialisation Biomedical Imaging. She posts weekly about herexperiences on Instagram.

She is alsohappy to answer your questions about the master's programme in Biomedical Sciences, her specialisation and (student) life in Maastricht through DM on Instagram.

This video gives you an impression of the specialisation Biomedical Imaging. It is a show and tell by three people who are in one way or another involved in this specialisation: dr Tiffany Porta Siegel, student Rob Janssenand senior principal scientist at Janssen Pharma Rob Vreeken.

Master BMS, specialisation Imaging from Molecule to Man

Genetics and Genomics

Introduction
Genetics and genomics both play roles in health and disease. Genetics helps us understand how diseases are inherited, what screening and testing options or treatments are available. Genomics helps us to discover why some people get sick from certain infections, environmental factors, and behaviours, while others do not.

Is this the right specialisation for me?
This specialisation is developed in order to provide students with a strong foundation and expertise in the field of genetics. Main focus is on the application of genetics and genomics principles in scientific research and in the clinic with specific attention for cancer, cardiogenetics, neurogenetics, model systems, forensics and personalised medicine.

What will I learn?
You will:
obtain knowledge about technologies for high-throughput collection of 'omics'data and about models used for genetic manipulation or complex human disorders;
learn about the concepts and limitations of genetic testing, genetics diversity and the influence of epigenetics on the fundamental regulation of gene expression;
analyse data and define ethical and societal issues concerning genetics and genomics;
apply the concepts of molecular genetics in the context of research and treatment of diseases (cancer progression, cardiogenetics and neurogenetics);
identify genetic and biological pathways in complex diseases; and
apply genetics and genomics in personal medicine.

What are my career prospects?
This specialisation prepares you for a research-oriented future in the field of genetics and genomics in academia, biomedical companies and in the clinic.

Programme
In the first course, the basic principles of genetics and genomics will be taught. This course serves as the basis for work in the second course, which focuses on translation and application of the knowledge obtained in the first course to solve challenging clinical problems.

Course 1: Advanced Principles of Genetics and Genomics
In this course, the molecular mechanisms of genetic and environmental influences on gene expression and protein function are being addressed. Additionally, the principles of several algorithms and the databases and analytical programmes available in the public domain are being addressed. Finally, the impact of genetics and genomics on research and society with respect to personalised medicine and ethical issues will be discussed.

Course 2: Clinical and Applied Genetics and Genomics
This course further elaborates on the application of genetics and genomics principles in scientific research and clinical applications with specific attention for cancer, cardiogenetics, neurogenetics, model systems, forensics and personalised medicine.

More information
For more information on admission, please contact our master admission office.

Ask a student

Daniel chose the specialisation Genetics and Genomics. He posts weekly about hisexperiences on Instagram.

He is alsohappy to answer your questions about the master's programme in Biomedical Sciences, hisspecialisation and (student) life in Maastricht through DM on Instagram.

This video gives you an impression of the specialisation Genetics and Genomics. It is a show and tell by three people who are in one way or another involved in this specialisation: prof.dr Ronit Shiri-Sverdlov, student Jasper Germeraad and laboratory specialist in clinical Genetics at MUMC+dr Bianca van den Bosch.

Master BMS, specialisation Genetics and Genomics

(Video) Should you study biomedical science | I hate biomedical science

Inflammation and Pathophysiology

Introduction
Our aging society is facing many threats, including oncologic, neurologic and cardiovascular problems. Frequently, these problems are of inflammatory nature or are caused by infections. Therefore, this specialisationaims to develop a thorough, clinically relevant understanding of different mechanisms of development of disease. The specialisation also describes current relevant animal models.

Is this the right specialisation for me?
We aim to prepare youto contribute to the understanding of inflammation andpathological threads, and develop new treatment strategies. The development includes engineering of the immune system to develop cell therapies, antibody therapy, vaccination, drug developmentand gene therapy.

This is the specialisation for you:
ifyou are interested in manipulation of the immune system, and
ifyou wish to pursue a career either in industry (biotechnology) or academia.

What will I learn?
You will:
learn pathophysiology of relevant organs,
learn techniques for the study of molecules, cells and organisms,
obtain clinically relevant understanding of different mechanisms of disease,
learn to target immunological threads,
create new therapeutic strategies targeting the immune system,
getprepared for working in academy and industry,
read and think in a critical way,
design, conduct, analyse, explain and defend your research (via research papers, essays, presentations), and
collaborate in small teams.

Goals of this specialisation are:
to understand path·o·phys·i·ol·o·gy: thestudyofstructuralandfunctionalchangesintissueandorgansthatleadtodisease;
to evaluate different types of therapies, vaccination and immune system effector functions;
to engineer the immune system, treatment of disease.

What are my career prospects?
This specialisation prepares you for a research career in the field of inflammation and pathophysiology in academia, hospitals, and industry (biomedical companies)et cetera (e.g. PhD, embedded scientists, R&D).

Programme
​This specialisationcombines an education in concepts with a sophisticated training in immunological techniques.

Course 1: Inflammation and Pathophysiology
learn sterile inflammation and other pathological threats leading to degeneration
explain hypersensitivity disorders
explain immunity to tumors
appraise immunity to microbes

Course 2: Inflammation and Pathophysiology - Engineering the Immune System, Treatment of Disease
explain and design antibody engineering
explain and design cell therapy
evaluate and design vaccination
discuss organ transplantation
appraise gene-therapy techniques
assess the potential of microbiome targeting

More information
For more information on admission, please contact our master admission office.

Ask a student

Sofia chose the specialisation Inflammation and Pathophysiology. She posts weekly about herexperiences on Instagram.

She is alsohappy to answer your questions about the master's programme in Biomedical Sciences, her specialisation and (student) life in Maastricht through DM on Instagram.

This video gives you an impression of the specialisation Inflammation and Pathophysiology. It is a show and tell by three people who are in one way or another involved in this specialisation: prof.dr Pilar Martinez, student Jan Gaedeand dr. René Hoet (VP Biologics Research at Bayer AG and professor in Biopharmaceutics at UM).

Master BMS, specialisation Inflammation and Pathophysiology

Neuromodulation


Introduction
Neuroscience has provided invaluable insights into the organisation of the central nervous system. Building on decades of fundamental and clinical research, neuromodulation has recently emerged as a very promising field that has the potential to change the neuroscience landscape. Equipped with detailed knowledge of neuroanatomy and neurophysiology, a wide spectrum of invasive and non-invasive techniques has been developed that allows manipulation of the central nervous system from the micro to the macro level. This offers unprecedented opportunities for scientific research and opens the door for novel clinical applications in various diseases/disorders of the central nervous system. To illustrate, deep brain stimulation can target specific nuclei in the brain stem to instantly reduce tremor in Parkinson’s disease. Transcranial magnetic stimulation has proven efficacy in drug-resistant depression with virtually no side effects. Spinal cord stimulation can alleviate chronic pain symptoms. These and many more examples will be illuminated in this specialisation in neuromodulation.

Maastricht University has a strong tradition in neuromodulation research and application, across a wide spectrum of neuromodulation techniques. Embedded in this unique neuromodulation network, we offer this one of a kind specialisation as part of the master's in Biomedical Sciences. This specialisation is interdisciplinary in content and inter-departmental in structure, designed to offer cutting-edge theoretical and methodological training. Students will be able to choose between internships in research laboratories, and/or clinical placements, and/or industrial settings. Students will be prepared to unravel the mechanisms of the human brain and to unleash the full therapeutic potential of neuromodulation in various clinical fields.

(Video) Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program Virtual Tour

Is this the right specialisation for me?
This specialisation is developed for students who are enthusiastic about the potential of neuromodulation in scientific research. We hope to attract curious and creative minds that are eager to learn the principles of neuromodulation, get inspired by current clinical applications, and then proceed to contribute to this highly interdisciplinary field.

What will I learn?
You will:
have essential knowledge about neuroanatomy and neurophysiology to understand the basic principles of current neuromodulation techniques,
have a comprehensive overview of state-of-the-art neuromodulation approaches and their current clinical applications,
understand how insights into the pathophysiology of the central nervous system can be translated into clinical applications of neuromodulation in neurology and psychiatry, and
be aware of current trends, developments, limitations, and future challenges in the field of neuromodulation.

What are my career prospects?
The field of neuromodulation is increasingly relevant in scientific research, clinical settings, and industry. There is a high demand for skilled experts who can further develop existing methodology, explore novel applications, and promote the implementation of neuromodulation approaches in clinical practice. This specialisation prepares you for a future in the field of neuromodulation at an academic organisation, clinical institutionor biomedical company(e.g. PhD candidate, embedded scientists, R&D).

Programme
Thisspecialisation offers a comprehensive overview of the fundamental principles and applications of current neuromodulation techniques.

Course 1: Fundamental Neuromodulation
The first course starts by providing essential knowledge about neuroanatomy and neurophysiology required to understand the basic principles of current neuromodulation techniques. Building on this foundation, various state-of-the-art neuromodulation approaches will be explored in detail, with a particular focus on deep brain stimulation, spinal and sacral neuromodulation, and transcranial magnetic stimulation. Next to conventional neuromodulation techniques, the participants will be introduced to novel neuromodulation techniques including optogenetic, chemogenetic and wireless neuromodulation. At the end of this course, students will have a proper understanding of current neuromodulation techniques and they will be aware of recent trends and developments in the field.

Course 2: Translational Neuromodulation
The second course showcases how insights into the pathophysiology of the central nervous system can be translated into clinical applications of neuromodulation in neurology and psychiatry. Various novel treatment approaches using neuromodulation have emerged over the last few years and are increasingly used world-wide. Prominent examples include the application of deep brain stimulation in Parkinson’s disease, and the treatment of depression using transcranial magnetic stimulation. These and many other examples will be discussed, revealing the potential of neuromodulation in clinical practice.

More information
For more information on admission, please contact our master admission office.

Ask a student

Tara chose the specialisation Neuromodulation. She posts weekly about herexperiences on Instagram.

She is alsohappy to answer your questions about the master's programme in Biomedical Sciences, her specialisation and (student) life in Maastricht through DM on Instagram.

This video gives you an impression of the specialisation Neuromodulation. It is a show and tell by three people who are in one way or another involved in this specialisation: researcher Alix Thomson, prof.dr Alexander Sackand prof.dr. Yasin Temel.

MSc Biomedical Sciences: specialisation Neuromodulation

Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism

Introduction
A lifestyle characterised by overnutrition of macronutrients and underconsumption of micronutrients, along with physical inactivity translates into derailments in metabolic health and ultimately into deteriorated function and health. A wide range of currently prevalent disorders in westernised societies find common ground in metabolism that goes awry.

The aim of this specialisationis to understand the physiology and the mechanisms underlying these derailments to provide the basis for the ultimate design and optimisation of preventive and therapeutic nutritional and life-style interventions that improve metabolic health and alleviate the diseased state.

Is this the right specialisation for me?
If you have a genuine interest in how diet, physical activity and a sedentary lifestyle affect health…
If you are interested in the mechanisms (from molecule to man) governing the (mal)adaptive responses of the human body to changes in energy availability and demand…
If you would like to know the state-of-the-art on how exercise and physical activity interventions can promote health…
If you are eager to gain the knowledge needed to design novel life-style interventions to promote health…

Than this is the specialisation of your choice!

What will I learn?
In this specialisation you will study deeply into:
the integrative and interorgan physiology of key metabolic processes;
the biochemical and cellular basis for diet- and exercise-induced alterations in health;
the biochemical and cellular basis for the health threatening effects of a sedentary life-style;
how nutrition and physical activity affect non-communicable diseases;
identification of routes fundamental to the design of non-exercise related life-style interventions to promote energy turnover and health.

What are my career prospects?
To halt the progressive increase in prevalence of disorders that find common ground in disturbed metabolism, we need highly skilled people to identify potentially successful targets and routes for intervention via scientific research. This includes research in academia, hospitals and industry (ranging from biomedical and pharmaceutical companies to companies developing wearables to monitor health and physical activity). You can also apply the knowledge acquired in (academic) teaching or in public health settings to provide new scientific background to novel health promotion programmes.

Programme
Course 1: Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism: Fundamental Aspects
This course will provide in-depth insight into the major systems of human nutritional and exercise physiology and metabolism. With basic knowledge on nutrient uptake across the gastrointestinal tract as the starting point, the course will focus on cell and organ specific routes for conversion of macromolecules into their oxidizable derivatives. Importantly, the pivotal role of intermediary metabolism, metabolites and small circulatory hormones like peptides in metabolic control and inter-organ cross-talk (muscle-liver-adipose tissue-cardiovascular system-brain) will be thoroughly studied in the fasted, post-prandial and exercised state. This course will provide the mechanistic basis to understand how aberrations in energy and substrate metabolism can be the common denominator in multiple highly prevalent disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson, some types of cancer or metastases, COPD, sarcopenia, obesity, type 2 diabetes and related cardiovascular disorders. Alterations in energy status, energy sensing and energy turnover have all been associated with these disorders. These alterations may originate from compromised nuclear receptor signaling, post-transcriptional modulation via e.g. micro RNA’s, post-translational modification (acetylation, glycosylation, phosphorylation) hampering protein function and metabolic processes altering NAD+/NADH and ADP/ATP related energy status of the affected cells. With mitochondria being the subcellular hub in energy turnover, detailed knowledge on the dynamics of the mitochondrial network is considered an essential part of this course.

Course 2: Lifestyle Interventions and Metabolism; a Translational Perspective
In this course the role of diet and physical activity to prevent chronic disease in humans will be considered. Lifestyle factors modulating metabolism on a micro (cellular) and macro (organ) scale will be studied via a translational approach. This course will take conventional strategies to promote health (like nutritional and exercise interventions) to the next level by exploring the underlying mechanisms and how these interventions may prevent chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes. Interventions like weight loss, (nutritional) compounds, exercise, sedentary behaviour, sleep, stress management promoting metabolism will be topic of study. The basis for inter-individual differences in responsiveness, including genetics, will be studied in the light of personalised interventions to promote health and prevent disease.

More information
For more information on admission, please contact our master admission office.

Ask a student

Jana chose the specialisation Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism. She posts weekly about herexperiences on Instagram.

She is alsohappy to answer your questions about the master's programme in Biomedical Sciences, her specialisation and (student) life in Maastricht through DM on Instagram.

This video gives you an impression of the specialisation Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism. It is a show and tell by three people who are in one way or another involved in this specialisation: prof.dr Matthijs Hesselink, student Marvin Feldmann and nutrition and movement sciences researcher at UMMarlies de Ligt.

Master BMS, specialisation Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism

(Video) MSc Biomedical Sciences in UK Ep:15

Regenerative Medicine

Introduction
An increasingly ageing population in the industrialised world is accompanied by a number of new challenges. For example, as ageing is combined with a more active lifestyle, the demand for treatments for damaged and diseased organs and tissues also increases.
The interventions that are used to successfully restore the function of damaged organs or tissues have also changed in the past decades. While some thirty years agoimplants were used to passively take over the function of a poorly functioning tissue, nowadaysthe focus is on developing methods that temporary 'trigger'the body to repair or regenerate itself. Furthermore, such interventions need to be affordable, as the burden to our healthcare system is also growing.

To be able to develop successful and affordable regenerative strategies, knowledge must be integrated from different disciplines. An active collaboration between chemists, materials scientists, physicists, biologists, computational scientists and clinicians is required to make a true difference in the biomedical field.

Is this the specialisation for me?
This specialisation is developed for students with an interest in a multidisciplinary field aiming at creating solutions to restore structure and function of permanently damaged tissues and organs by using a combination of science and technology. Regenerative medicine (RM) is inherently translational and uses basic scientific knowledge to solve real clinical problems. Within this specialisation, topics will focus on both the molecular biological (including stem cell biology and gene therapies) and technological (including tissue engineering and bio-fabrication technologies) aspects, and the combination thereof within a clinical context.

What will I learn?
You will:
obtain an overview of the science and technology in the field of RM;
be exposed to the essence of multi-disciplinarity within RM;
understand the difference between basic science and translational science;
learn how to bring novel inventions within the field of RM to the market;
make the scientific journey from basic science and technology towards a clinical application; and
learn to communicate specialised knowledge to a group of scientists with different background and specialisations.

What are my career prospects?
This specialisation prepares you for a research-oriented future in the field of regenerative medicine in academia, biomedical companies, et cetera (e.g. PhD, embedded scientists, R&D).

Programme
In the first course the basic principles of RM are taught. This course serves as the basis for work in the second course, which focuses on translation and application of the knowledge obtained in course 1 to solve challenging clinical problems.

Course 1: The Science and Technology of Regenerative Therapeutics
This course is about exposure to the essence of multi-disciplinarity of RM. You will increase your level of knowledge on the technology and science behind regenerative medicine such as cell therapy, material science, fabrication technologies and combinations of these, within a clinical context.

Course 2: Translating Therapies into the Clinic and onto the Market
In this course, we will make the scientific journey from science and technology to the clinic and products. Using actual clinical challenges, you have to work out a new solution to that clinical problem supported by experts in the field. You will know where to put biomedical solutions in the Technology Readiness Level chain and you will learn how to take it a step further and learn to communicate specialised knowledge to a group of scientists from different disciplines.

More information
For more information on admission, please contact our master admission office.

Ask a student

Simone chose the specialisation Regenerative Medicine. She posts weekly about herexperiences on Instagram.

She is alsohappy to answer your questions about the master's programme in Biomedical Sciences, her specialisation and (student) life in Maastricht through DM on Instagram.

This video gives you an impression of the specialisation Regenerative Medicine. It is a show and tell by three people who are in one way or another involved in this specialisation: prof.dr Jan de Boer, student Daphne Eussen and entrepreneur Niloofar Tahmasebi.

Master BMS, specialisation Regenerative Medicine

Additional specialisations

Hasselt University (Belgium)
Hasselt University offers two additional specialisations:
Bio-electronics and Nanotechnology, which focuses on biomaterials, the interface between biological and electronic systems, and the broad domain of biosensors.
Environmental Health Sciences, which focuses on the molecular interaction between the environment and cells, toxicology, and risk assessment.

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