van Amerongen Lab - Developmental, Stem Cell & Cancer Biology

        Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences - University of Amsterdam         

Frontiers in Medical Biology

About the track

Frontiers in Medical Biology focuses on three major societal challenges for the 21st century: cancer, aging and food for health. In this track you will study the fundamental scientific and technological challenges that underlie these societal health issues.

Frequently asked questions

1. How do you select students?
About 20-30 students signed up for this course since it first started. Students in the Biomedical Sciences that list this track as their first choice will be accommodated first. Please note that beta/gamma students that elect this track as a major, will count as "regular" biomedical sciences students in this regard.

If the course is oversubscribed, students will be selected based on study progress and grades. In 2019-2020 the course was offered to foreign exchange students for the first time.

2. How do students evaluate the course?
Well, they gave the course a 7.6 in the official evaluation of 2016 - 2017, a 7.8 in 2017 - 2018 and a 7.9 in 2018 - 2019. Since numbers don't say everything: students also note that they appreciate the smaller group size and close interaction with the teachers, as well as the discussion of recent scientific findings. Here is some of the feedback from the students in their own words:
"Enthousiaste docenten"
"Afwisselend en breed beeld van de medische biologie"
"Heel goed georganiseerd"
"Laat veel verschillende perspectieven zien"
"De interesse in ontwikkeling is bij mij heel erg gewekt"
"Veel diepgang, veel verschillende onderwerpen"

3. What can I expect?
You are advised to check out the 'studiegids' (course catalogue) and 'studiewijzer' (course manual) of current and previous editions of the course. Or you could go to the library and check out "Development" by Gilbert, which we will use as the basis for the developmental biology lectures. Or you could check out the Frontiers in Medical Biology You Tube channel, which contains all of the webvideo's that students have made in previous years. Of course, your best source of information will probably be a student who took the course in previous years.
It is important to realize that Frontiers I gives you the basis for Frontiers II (where you will work on your own business plan and research proposal) and Advanced Genomics (where you will combine wet lab and dry lab experiments). Together, these courses are really aimed at gradually transitioning from textbook based learning (and we have some really nice ones for Frontiers I) to scientific literature and experimentation based learning. In other words: the perfect preparation for a BSc internship!

4. What do you do with student feedback?
We are continuously developing the course to keep up with current developments. Since the beginning, we have actively developed novel 'laptop colleges' and 'werkcolleges' to allow students to actively engage with the presented material. In 2017-2018 we focused on extending the stem cell modeling classes. For 2018-2019, we developed a closer link between the material covered in Frontiers I and the Advanced Genomics course. For 2019-2020 we implemented more feedback on the wetlab practicals.