The programme provides you with strong knowledge on one or more of the following topics: design and synthesis of new drugs, radiolabelling and enhanced targeting of drugs, or screening, isolation and modification of new drug candidates from bioactive plants. In addition, you will learn to master the state-of-the-art methods needed for the full identification of drug molecules and for their quantitation from different types of tissues and metabolite mixtures.
Our programme offers you three options, all covering the chemistry of drug development from slightly different perspectives: bio-organic chemistry, radiopharmaceutical chemistry and natural compound chemistry. You can either choose to learn to synthesize drugs and drug components yourself, or let them be produced by plants first and then learn how to isolate and perhaps modify the plant-derived compounds to enhance their activity. Radiochemistry is then needed to developed techniques for labelling of drug candidates so that their distribution can be first monitored in vivo by positron emission tomography (PET) techniques and then the targeting optimized by further modifications. Our approach gives you strong hands-on knowledge on medicinal chemistry, since practical laboratory work forms the soul of our programme.
- I find this programme very well balanced because I can study tiny chemical details, but on the other hand I also have to understand the bigger picture.
This programme offers a good combination of educative lecture courses and hands-on laboratory courses that give a real impression of what e.g. the field of phytochemistry has to offer.
I find natural compounds fascinating and this programme has given me the opportunity to study these molecules far beyond the limits than I could have ever imagined.
Figure 1. Students of Medicinal and Radiopharmaceutical Chemistry choose one of the three Thematic Modules for their specialization, but they may take courses from all the modules as optional courses.
Figure 2. The timing of studies in Medicinal and Radiopharmaceutical Chemistry. All students take the same core courses, and specialize by studying the thematic courses and related laboratory. projects and by making the master’s thesis under the same thematic research area (Bio-organic Chemistry, Radiopharmaceutical Chemistry, or Natural Compound Chemistry). Optional courses may be taken from the other thematic modules or from other spesialisation tracks, such as Drug Discovery and Development.
Figure 3. The core courses are shared between the three thematic modules, but they all have their own thematic courses. Students choose one of the thematic modules, but may take courses from other themes as optional courses as well.
Our approach on medicinal and radiopharmaceutical chemistry is a unique combination of research areas that are closely related, but that require different type of expertise, if you really want to master one of the areas. All of the three options we offer you are represented by well-established, top of the line research groups: Bioorganic Group, Radiopharmaceutical Chemistry Group, and Natural Chemistry Research Group. You need to choose your orientation between these groups, but you may take courses from all of them. This way you are able to specialize, but at the same time acquire wide enough knowledge on the relevant topics related to the chemistry of drug development.
The main target in studies of Bio-organic Chemistry is to master the key concepts of organic reactions, stereochemistry and physical organic chemistry. This way the student can design and execute organic syntheses and understand chemical biology. The Bioorganic Group is specialized into the synthesis of biopolymers (oligonucleotides, oligosaccharides and peptides), their interaction mechanisms at the molecular level and to the application of this knowledge into solving medicinal problems.
Students of Radiopharmaceutical Chemistry can specialize into radiochemistry, i.e. the synthesis and use of short-lived, isotopically labelled positron emitting organic tracers. These tracers are used in positron emission tomography (PET) that enables imaging of biochemical processes in vivo in both health and disease. The synthesis of radiotracers involves both low molecular weight small molecules as well as macromolecules, typically peptides, proteins and their fragments. Teaching of radiopharmaceutical chemistry takes place in close collaboration with the Turku PET Centre, a National Institute jointly owned by the University of Turku, the Åbo Akademi University and the Hospital District of Southwestern Finland.
With Natural Compound Chemistry you learn to master numerous chromatographic and mass spectrometric techniques together with other methods used for characterization and activity measurement of plant-derived biomolecules. The Natural Chemistry Research Group is specialized into the screening of the plant kingdom for bioactive molecules, especially large polyphenols such as ellagitannins. The screening phase can be accompanied by purification of active substances and measuring their structure/activity relationships, or developing new activity methods.
The facilities of Medicinal and Radiopharmaceutical Chemistry are state-of-the-art. We have direct access to the Turku PET Centre preclinical and clinical groups. The PET Centre has four cyclotrons for radionuclide production and 25 hot cells for radiotracer synthesis. At the Department of Chemistry we have recently updated NMR facilities with modern 500 and 600 MHz magnets with cryo-probes that facilitate operation at low drug concentrations. We have direct access to UPLC-MS/MS instruments with both triple quadrupole and high-resolution mass spectrometry detectors. An efficient ECD spectrometer complements the equipment needed for the accurate identification of the produced and purified drug candidates. To know how to master these equipment and techniques is a true advantage to the chemist who graduates from our programme.
Studies in Medicinal and Radiopharmaceutical Chemistry combine theory and practise in an optimal manner so that you have ample chances of gaining hands-on knowledge on different aspects of chemistry of drug development. This is obtained by many courses having lab practicals and by the Oriented Laboratory Project that is a five-week period of laboratory work on some specific challenge related to one of the three thematic research areas.
After the Oriented Laboratory Project you have an excellent chance to use your gained knowledge and expertise in the Master’s Laboratory Project that will form the basis for your Master’s Thesis as well. This five months lasting laboratory project is a crucial and customized part of a true research project taking place in one of the thematic research groups. Alternatively, you have a chance to do the Master’s Laboratory Project in some other Finnish University or abroad, depending on the project details and collaborators available for the project.
After the Master’s Laboratory Project is finalized, you will prepare the Master’s Thesis on the very same or similar topic as the lab project. All this is naturally done under the guidance of a supervisor. Your thesis writing process will benefit from the simultaneous Thesis Seminars, where students discuss of challenges related to their projects, and will present their results both orally and via poster presentations.
Examples of thesis topics:
Turku has longstanding research traditions in the field of biomedicine. Especially the areas of drug discovery, diagnostics, and biological and medical imaging represent the top-level expertise of the University of Turku.
The Medicinal and Radiopharmaceutical Chemistry specialization track is part of the MSc Programme in Biomedical Sciences, which is a collaboration of two universities, the University of Turku and Åbo Akademi University. The close co-operation of four biomedical programmes forms a unique educational combination of biomedical sciences in Finland and worldwide.
The programme in Biomedical Sciences is managed together by the Faculties of Medicine, and Science and Engineering at the University of Turku.
The offered education is based on the true research strengths of the participating units:
Other specialisation tracks of the Master´s Degree Programme in Biomedical Sciences are Biomedical Imaging, Drug Discovery and Development, and Molecular Biotechnology and Diagnostics. Major subject studies in each are track-specific but can be offered as selectable studies for all the study tracks. Each student makes a personal study plan which helps to select the courses that best suit for personal interests and background of the student.
Medicinal and Radiopharmaceutical Chemistry track has close connections to the pharma industry at the Turku region. The companies provide the students with opportunities to do the Master’s Laboratory Project in their facilities or in collaboration. They may offer internships and job opportunities for the graduates as well. In addition, all the three research groups included in the Medicinal and Radiopharmaceutical Chemistry have large collaborative networks in Europe and elsewhere globally. These can be utilized just like the local pharma companies for the Master’s Laboratory Project, if such collaboration is seen to offer clear benefits for the student.
After completing the studies, depending on your specialization, you will
You will be equipped with skills that provide you with multiple career options. You will be able to join the industry in Finland or abroad, or to enter the public sector, for example, in various authoritative duties.
The studies in Medicinal and Radiopharmaceutical Chemistry provide excellent possibilities for a career in life sciences. For example, you can:
The Master of Science degree completed in the Programme qualifies the graduates for PhD studies in Turku, elsewhere in Finland or universities worldwide.
Graduates from the programme are eligible to apply for a position in the University of Turku Graduate School, UTUGS. The Graduate School consists of 16 doctoral programmes, which cover all disciplines and doctoral candidates of the University.
Together with the doctoral programmes, the Graduate School provides systematic and high quality doctoral training. UTUGS aims to train highly qualified experts with the skills required for both professional career in research and other positions of expertise.
Several doctoral programmes at University of Turku are available for graduates:
General degree requirement
A BSc degree that formally qualifies the applicant to access Master’s level studies in the country where it has been completed. This degree should correspond to at least 180 ECTS (European credits) or to a minimum of three years of full-time study.
A polytechnic degree from a Finnish University of Applied Sciences (ammattikorkeakoulu). Students with such degree might however be required to complete additional studies while studying for the Master’s degree to qualify for Master’s degree studies (see Additional studies).
The degree on basis of which you are applying to the MDP in Biomedical Sciences must be in a relevant field of study. For the Medicinal and Radiopharmaceutical Chemistry track such fields are
Applications are evaluated by the admission committee of the Master’s Degree Programme. The applicant is scored separately for each track s/he is applying to. The admission committee also interviews the best scoring applicants in each specialization track. The interview invitations will be sent by e-mail. If the applicant is not reached for the interview, the application will not be processed further.
Following application components are scored:
In addition, an applicant may receive additional points from a written thesis (1 p.) and possible academic awards and/or stipends (1 p.) and completing a possible pre-assignment task during the interview (0-3 p.).
If the applicant scores 0 p. in any of the components, the application will not be processed further. In the case of the same amount of points, all of the applicants with the same score will be selected. Rest of the interviewees will be shortlisted, and if any of the admitted applicants will not accept the offered study place, it will be offered to the next applicant on the list. The admission committee reserves a right to decide into which university the applicant will be admitted, if s/he has applied to both universities, ÅAU and UTU in Biomedical Imaging. The preferred choice of the applicant will be taken into account when possible.
All applicants must prove their knowledge of English in one of the ways accepted by the Faculty.
Applicants seeking admission on the basis of a polytechnic degree from a Finnish University of Applied Sciences (ammattikorkeakoulu) may be asked to prove their proficiency in Finnish language also if they are required to complete such additional Bachelor’s level studies that are available only in Finnish.
The application form is filled online in the Studyinfo portal. Please search at www.studyinfo.fi for the Master’s Degree Programme in Biomedical Sciences. The application form is available and a completed application can be updated until the end of the application period on 31 January 2018 at 15.00 (GMT +2). When filling in the form you should select the specialization track of the Master´s Degree Programme in Biomedical Sciences to which you will apply. If you wish to apply for several tracks, you’ll have to put them in the order of preference.
The yearly quota is 40 students shared out to the four specialization fields. In case the share is uneven, the applicants with best score will be prioritized. The admission decisions are published by 28 March 2018. All applicants will be informed by email, but also hard copies are sent upon request. All students are required to start in the beginning of the autumn semester, and there is no separate admission for the spring semester.
The admitted applicant will have to show the originals of his/her educational documents (degree certificate and transcript of study records) at the University of Turku after arrival in Finland. Depending on the country the original documents may have to be attested or legalized. Please see the country specific requirements for the submission of the documents upon arrival already before applying.
Master’s Degree Programme in
Degree: Master of Sciences
Duration: 2 academic years, 120 ECTS credits
Mode of study: Full-time
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Science and Engineering
Location: Turku, Finland
Language of instruction: English
Start date: August/September 2018
Application period: 1 Dec 2017 – 31 Jan 2018
Tuition fee for citizens of EU/EEA countries or Switzerland: None
Tuition fee for citizens of non-EU/EEA countries: €12,000
Scholarships available: check the website