Doctoral education

The Doctoral Programme in Drug Research  (DPDR) Curriculum

Programme profile

The aim of DPDR is t6485362_printo educate experts having wide view of the whole life cycle of medicines and toxicology.

The main doctoral education is research, which is performed in the research groups under guidance of supervisor(s). During research work, also soft skills are learned. These skills can also be studied in the doctoral school’s training events.

DPDR is a multidisciplinary doctoral programme and its strong fields include drug design and synthesis, medicinal chemistry, bioactivity screening, pharmaceutical microbiology, drug formulation, industrial manufacturing, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, analytics, drug interactions, pharmacogenetics, pharmacology and clinical pharmacology, clinical drug research, pharmacoepidemiology, clinical pharmacy, pharmacoeconomics, toxicology and clinical toxicology and veterinary drug research.

DRDP-Reserach topic Description-2014-IR-241014Research topics and disciplines in DPDR.

Doctoral education in DPDR includes national and international courses, congresses and work visits out-side own working place. DPDR has wide network of experts representing several fields in drug research and toxicology. DPDR is one core unit in the national FinPharmaNet network, which covers seven uni-versities, representatives from national authorities and drug industry. FinPharmaNet organises various educational national events. In addition, cooperation with scientific societies and doctoral candidates’ own activities (Student council) and peer support helps in networking. Research expertise, other skills and career planning are followed in annual thesis committee meetings where outside scientific experts support the progress of doctoral candidates.

Doctoral education consists of

1) Research (>75 %), including:
– typically 3-5 publications in international, peer reviewed journals (or a monograph)
– (inter)national mobility (see: Grants), networking (e.g. scientific societies)
– Doctoral thesis (a summary of the research including publications), which has to be defended in public.

Doctoral school in health sciences thesis series, instructions for publication: Dissertationes Scholae Doctoralis Ad Sanitatem Investigandam Universitatis Helsinkiensis’.

2) Theoretical education in transferable skills and scientific topics

– Selected  transferable skills courses: philosophy of science, statistics, pedagogy, business, IPR, writing and presentation courses (provided primarily by Doctoral School in Health Sciences, DSHealth). Minimum of 10 ECTS of transferable skills education is required for those candidates who start after 1.8.2017.

Scientific courses and events (organized by DPDR and collaborators) in topics relevant to the Doctoral candidate’s own research but also other topics represented in DPDR in drug research and toxicology. Minimum of 30 ECTS of scientific education, including research ethics (min 1 ECTS), is required for those candidates who start after 1.8.2017.

3) Meetings with thesis committee/follow-up group annually. DPDR does not require compilation of thesis committee (=follow-up group) and annual meetings of those candidates who have registered to pursue doctoral degree before 1.1.2014. For others it is obligatory.

Briefly, updates of research plan, study plan (and TUHAT database) and career prospects are presented to thesis committee/follow-up group to evaluate the progress of doctoral education. DPDR Coordinator is informed with a form. See DPDR guideline (.pdf, updated 25.8.2017) for details.

Note update to DPDR guideline: at least one of the thesis committee members shall not be in the same faculty as the corresponding research group.

4) Potentially Doctoral candidates have other duties, such as teaching and administration.

Doctoral education timeline:






– Research
– courses
– mobility
– thesis committee
– annual report (TUHAT)
– Research
– courses
– mobility
– thesis committee
– annual report (TUHAT)
– Research
– courses
– mobility
– thesis committee
– annual report (TUHAT)
– Research
– courses
– mobility
– thesis committee
– annual report (TUHAT)
– thesis writing
– dissertation
– PhD degree

Description of DPDR  and curriculum as pdf, 1_Opetussuunnitelma_DPDR.

See also corresponding Faculty information:

and overall doctoral education in DSHealth handbook and University instructions.

Transition to new degree requirements

Transition from the previous degree requirements to the requirements starting on 1.8.2017: General transition guidelines 2017-2020 DPDR.

Suitable courses for doctoral degree in drug research and toxicological research

1) University of Helsinki

A collection of Scientific courses in DPDR is listed below (new update will be published in 2017).

Transferable skills are provided by Doctoral School in Health Sciences (DSHealth). Also, it’s Doctoral programmes organise scientific and transferable skills training.

Courses in English by the Faculty of Pharmacy are listed in the Faculty page. Also additional Faculty of Medicine courses can be found via faculty web site.

Description and curriculum of DPDR (as .pdf)

2) National courses

National drug research training network FinPharmaNet (earlier FinPharma Doctoral Program, FPDP) organises Annual meeting which is highly recommended for all doctoral candidates and supervisors. FinPharmaNet announces scientific training courses in drug research and toxicology organised by Finnish Universities (especially drug research doctoral programmes in the Universities of Eastern Finland and Turku) and by other organisers.

See also national course list in FinBioNet page (→ FinBioNet course calendar).

3) International courses

NorDoc – Nordic Doctoral Training in Health Sciences network provides doctoral training courses offered by the NorDoc partner organisations:

For the Doctoral candidates in the Faculty of Pharmacy, ULLA network courses with Faculty support for travel are available.

See also News in DPDR home page.

Scientific courses in DPDR

Most, but not all, courses are listed in WebOodi.

General education
Lead drug identification, lead optimisation
Chemical screening
Biochemical screening
Drug delivery
Drug formulation
Industrial production
Efficacy, safety, interactions
Drug toxicology
Clinical drug research
Clinical drug toxicology
Drug and medication safety
(Population and environmental toxicology)
Veterinary medicine

Updated 1.2.2016. Course codes and contents may be changed in Autumn 2017.

General education 

OODI code Course name Practise ECTS Duration Organiser Dates times/ 4 years
 590381 Preliminary exam (in pharmaceutical sciences) 6-8 Faculty of Pharmacy 2016 x 4 8
Defense of the research plan (before 2014 registered Doctoral candidates) 3 Doctoral candidate on demand
590382 Presentation of the dissertation research project I (in pharmaceutical sciences) 2 2016
 590383  Presentation of the dissertation research project II (in pharmaceutical sciences) 2  2016
FPDP/FinPharmaNet Annual Meeting , Turku (Helsinki/Kuopio/Tampere/Oulu)  DRDP/UTU 29.-30.8.2016  Annual
Viikki Journal clubs and seminar series  Annual
Biomedicum events Annual

Lead drug identification, lead optimisation

OODI code Course name Practise ECTS Duration Organiser Dates
Practical course on G protein-coupled receptors (Oulu) lectures, practicals 5 days Henri Xhaard
Graduate student workshop: Computational methods in protein science 1  2 days Henri Xhaard
G protein coupled receptors (GPCRs201X), Helsinki 4 days Henri Xhaard
FinMedChem 2017, Helsinki Lectures + exercises 2 2 days Jari Yli-Kauhaluoma, Erik Wallen Every other year
590280 Modeling protein-ligand complexes (MPLC) Lectures + exercises 3 Henri Xhaard Every other year
590334 Chemoinformatics Henri Xhaard Every other year
590173 Organic chemistry in molecular biosciences and pharmacy III Lectures 3 Jari Yli-Kauhaluoma  2016
590321 Structure elucidation of organic compounds Lectures 2 Hannu Elo  2016
590219 Organic chemistry of enzyme-catalyzed reactions 3 Jari Yli-Kauhaluoma  –
55727 Basic Course in Radiochemistry Lectures 4 Risto Harjula Annual
55722 Radiation Protection Lectures + excercises 2 Risto Koivula Annual
55742 Radiopharmaceutical chemistry Lectures + excercises 3 Anu Airaksinen Every other year
55782 Tracer techniques Lectures + excercises 3 Anu Airaksinen  2016  Every other year
590337 Applied mathematical tools for pharmaceutical research 2 Alex Bunker 2016  Annual
590287 Fundamentals of Molecular Modeling and Molecular Dynamic Simulations in Pharmaceutical Research 5 Alex Bunker 2016  Annual
 590384 Anslyn, E. V. & Dougherty, D. A., Modern Physical Organic Chemistry, University Science Books, 2005, 1100 pp. Book exam 11 Jari Yli-Kauhaluoma  2016
 590384 Bugg, T. D. H.,  Introduction to Enzyme and Coenzyme Chemistry, 3rd. Edition, Wiley-Blackwell, 2012, 290 pp. Book exam 3 Jari Yli-Kauhaluoma  2016
 590384 Carey, F. A. & Sundberg, R. J., Advanced Organic Chemistry, Part A: Structure and Mechanisms, 5. Edition, Springer, New York, 2007, 1199 pp. Book exam 12 Jari Yli-Kauhaluoma  2016
 590384 Carey, F. A. & Sundberg, R. J., Advanced Organic Chemistry, Part B: Reactions and Synthesis, 5. Edition, Springer, New York, 2007, 1321 pp. Book exam 13 Jari Yli-Kauhaluoma  2016
 590384 Corey, E. J. & Czakó, B. & Kürti, L, Molecules and Medicine, Wiley, Hoboken, 2007, 254 pp. Book exam 3 Jari Yli-Kauhaluoma  2016
 590384 Dewick, P. M.: Medicinal Natural Products – A Biosynthetic Approach, Wiley, 2009, 3. Edition, 539 pp. Book exam 5 Jari Yli-Kauhaluoma  2016
590384 Lemke, T. L., Williams, D. A., Roche, V. F. & Zito, S. W., Foye’s Principles of Medicinal Chemistry, 7th Edition, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia, 2013, 1520 pp Book exam 5-15, by agreement Jari Yli-Kauhaluoma 2016
 590384 McMurry, J. & Begley, T., The Organic Chemistry of Biological Pathways, Roberts & Company Publishers, Greenwood Village, 2005, 490 pp. Book exam 5 Jari Yli-Kauhaluoma  2016
 590384 Nogrady, T. & Weaver, D. F., Medicinal Chemistry, A Molecular and Biochemical Approach, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2005, 649 pp. Book exam 6 Jari Yli-Kauhaluoma  2016
 590384 Patrick, G. L., An Introduction to Medicinal Chemistry, Oxford University Press, 5. Edition, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2013, 789 pp. Book exam 8 Jari Yli-Kauhaluoma  2016
 590384 Silverman, R. B. & Holladay, M. W., The Organic Chemistry of Drug Design and Drug Action, 3. painos, Elsevier Academic Press, San Diego, 2014, 517 pp. Book exam 5 Jari Yli-Kauhaluoma  2016
 590384 Silverman, R. B., The Organic Chemistry of Enzyme-Catalyzed Reactions, Academic Press, San Diego, 2000, 717 pp. Book exam 7 Jari Yli-Kauhaluoma  2016
 590384 Wermuth, C. G., The Practice of Medicinal Chemistry, Academic Press, 3. Edition, San Diego, 2008, 942 pp. Book exam 8 Jari Yli-Kauhaluoma  2016
Zweifel, G. S. & Nantz, M. H., Modern Organic Synthesis, An Introduction, Freeman, New York, 2007, 477 pp. Book exam 5 Jari Yli-Kauhaluoma  2016

Chemical screening

590134 Bioanalytics Lectures 5 Risto Kostiainen  2016
590085 Drug metabolism Lectures 3 Risto Kostiainen  2016
590179 Mass spectrometry Lectures 3 Tapio Kotiaho  2016 Every other year
55272 Modern carbohydrate analysis Lectures 2 Helena Soini
590243  Optimization of Chromatographic Methods Lectures 3 Heikki Vuorela  2016

See Department of Chemistry (Faculty of Science) courses in OODI

Biochemical screening

590283  Essentials of Molecular Biology in Pharmacy Lectures 3 Moshe Finel 2017 Every other year
590323 Natural Substances as Medicines Luentokurssi 5 Yvonne Holm  2016
590284 Cells – Biomaterials interactions, Pharmaceutical and medical applications in biopharmacy Lectures 3  1 month Yan-ru Lou  2016 Annual
590320 Isolation and Analysis of Natural Compounds Luentokurssi 5 Heikki Vuorela
 590385 Microbial lifestyles and drug discovery of antimicrobials Lectures, seminars and lab/groupworks 5 Adyary Fallarero 2017


P4 Medicine course/symposium Repasky/FIMM 2017 Every three years
Bioinformatics in Pharmacogenomics lectures and hands-on training Tero Aittokallio/FIMM
Computational Systems Medicine with focus on Network Pharmacology Tero Aittokallio/FIMM

Drug delivery

590237 Advanced Biopharmaceutics, Lectures Lectures 3 Marjo Yliperttula  2016 Annual
590296 Introduction to nanosciences – Johdatus nanotieteeseen Lectures 4 Tapani Viitala Spring 2016 Annual
590329 Advanced course in pharmacokinetics I Lectures 3,5 Arto Urtti  2016
590297 Nanoforum symposium 2 Vincenzo Cerullo 2017
 Membrec symposium  0.5+0.5  Pia Siljander/Fac. Biol. Env. Sci 8.9.2016

Drug formulation

Microfluidics and nanotechnology for pharmaceutical applications (MiNaPharmA)  Lectures(+lab) 3-5 Helder Santos, Tiina Sikanen

2017, 2019


59072 Controlled Drug Delivery Lectures 3 Jouni Hirvonen  2016
590176 Solid state analysis of pharmaceutics Lectures 3 Clare Strachan
59067 Product Development and Experimental Design Lectures 3 Jouko Yliruusi
590234 Physical Pharmacy Lectures 5 Marjo Yliperttula, Jouko Yliruusi
59068 Excipients in Pharmaceutical Technology Lectures 3 Leena Peltonen

Industrial production

590211 Expert Leadership Lectures 4 Anne Juppo  –
590278 Biopharmaceutics in Pharmaceutical Product Development – Biofarmasia farmaseuttisessa tuotekehityksessä Book exam 3 4 days Mia Siven  Annual
590212 Business economy of pharmaceutical industry Book exam 3 Anne Juppo  Annual
 590332 Special characteristics of use and development of veterinary medicines  Book exam 4 Mia Siven Annual
590153 Formulation I Book exam 5 Anne Juppo Annual
590154 Formulation II Book exam 4 Anne Juppo Annual
590155 Formulation III 6 Anne Juppo  2016
 590160  Quality management and quality standards Book exam 6  Anne Juppo Annual
590367 Pharmaceutical marketing Book exam 3 Anne Juppo Annual
590210  Good manufacturing and distribution practice 7 Anne Juppo 2017?
590162 Pharmaceutical industry and wholesale operations 4 Mia Siven 2016

Efficacy, safety, interactions

Stereotaxis in neuropharmacological research lectures, exam, practical 0,5-3  1-2 days Petteri Piepponen  –
Advances in Heart Regeneration and Repair 2 days Heikki Ruskoaho
59084 Neuropharmacology Lectures 3 Raimo Tuominen  2016
Bioinformatics in Pharmacogenomics lectures and hands-on training FIMM 2016
Computational Systems Medicine with focus on Network Pharmacology FIMM 2017
Gene manipulation – Advanced tools for drug research 1 2 days Outi Salminen ?
BEHAVIOURAL PHENOTYPING OF RODENT DISEASE MODELS – POTENTIAL AND PITFALLS  Lectures, demonstrations  2-3 6 days  Voikar/UH, Tanila, Jolkkonen/UEF, Vasar/U Tartu  28.8.–2.9.2016
 Neuropharmacology of drug addictions Saara Nuutinen  –

Drug toxicology


Clinical drug research

Pharmcokinetics, hands on (Introduction to Phoenix Winnonlin) Aleksi Tornio ? Every 2-3 years
Kliininen lääketutkimus Lectures Janne Backman Every 2-3 years
Lääkkeiden haittavaikutukset – mitalin toinen puoli / Drug interactions Luennot Janne Backman Every 2-3 years
Pharmacogenetics Lectures Mikko Niemi ?

 Clinical drug toxicology



590300 Critical appraisal of evidence Lectures, exercises, assignments 5 1 day Marja Blom Annual
590311 Vaikuttavuuden mittaaminen farmakoekonomisessa tutkimuksessa – Measuring effectiveness in health care research Lectures, exercises, assignments 4 2 days Marja Blom 2017
590372 Research methods in pharmacoeconomics Lectures, exercises, assignments 5 Marja Blom Annual
 590376 Literature in pharmacoeconomics  Literature will be agreed case by case basis 1-6 Marja Blom  Annual

Drug and medication safety

590301 Clinical pharmacy and medication management in hospital Lectures 6 Marja Airaksinen
590183 Drug Information and Drug Information Services Lectures 4 0 Marja Airaksinen, Niina Mononen, Marika Pohjanoksa-Mäntylä  2016 Every other year
590250 Medication review and clinical pharmacy Lectures 4 Marja Airaksinen, Niina Mononen, Marika Pohjanoksa-Mäntylä  2016
590386 High risk medicines and medicine induced disorders Lectures 4 Raisa Laaksonen
Medication safety research – Overview on Methods and Current Topics lectures + diary 1  1 day Marja Airaksinen
Statistics for Health Services Research: Multivariable Methods assignments 3 2 days Marja Airaksinen
Outcomes Assessment, Rational Drug Therapy and Pharmacy (Lääkehoidon tuloksellisuuden arviointi ja rationaalinen lääkehoito) 2 or 4 2 days Marja Airaksinen



(Population and environmental toxicology)

Not available at the moment

Veterinary medicine

Doctoral programme in clinical veterinary medicine courses  DPCVM web site

Welcome to candidate (.pdf) to new members of DPDR (updated 10.8.2016).

The University of Helsinki PhD Students is an association for all doctoral candidates at the University of Helsinki. The goal is to advocate the interests of doctoral students and to function as a liaison between doctoral students and the University of Helsinki.

Note: Some of the doctoral education (transferable skills or scientific) courses are very popular and there is a long queue for the courses. In case registered participant does not cancel his/her but does not show on a course someone misses the opportunity to participate.

Therefore, if doctoral candidate does not show on two courses organized despite registration (and without cancellation) by the DSHealth/Doctoral programme within 12 months, he/she is not entitled to DSHealth/Doctoral programme travel grants in the next application round.

Revised edition of European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity 2017 (as pdf)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *