Below you will find a list of courses and activities organized by the CTO PhD program.

Introduction course, Hot and Happening (organizer: Dr. Sjoerd Elias)

(3 days, 1,5 ECTS)

Various departments (e.g. Radiology, Radiotherapy, Surgery, Pathology etc) within the UMC Utrecht and UU that perform clinical and translational oncology research will introduce their lines of cancer research and the recent developments in detection and treatment of cancer. The aim of this course is to provide an overview of all ongoing cancer research in the UMC Utrecht and UU to promote awareness and interdisciplinary collaborations. This course is obligatory for candidates within the CTO program, but open for candidates from other programs.

Clinical Trial Development Course (organizers: Dr. Nadia Haj Mohammad, Dr. Jeanine Roodhart and Dr. Eelke Gort)

(3 days, 1.5 ECTS)

Aims of this course are:

  • Give PhD candidates insight in trial development AND practical advice how to successfully write a clinical trial protocol
  • Teach PhD candidates to critically evaluate the design of a clinical study.
  • Learn to understand epidemiological and statistical aspects of studies involving patients
  • Gain knowledge of (inter)national guidelines and restrictions

After this course each participating candidate has obtained the essential knowledge to draft a clinical trial protocol and has learned what is needed to successfully execute a clinical trial. Success of the course depends on the high level of interaction between PhD candidates and faculty members (both local, national and international) that serve as experts-in-the-field and mentors.


Advanced Molecular Pathology course (organizers: Dr. Ruud Meijers and Dr. Wendy de Leng)

(3 days, 1.5 ECTS)

Our aim is to provide an update of the latest developments in molecular pathology where we will discuss different tumor types, the molecular alterations and how to analyze them as well as targeted treatment options. We managed to create an interesting program with teachers from different backgrounds and disciplines (clinicians, pathologists, molecular biologists).

The program contains an interesting mix of theory and practice of mutation analysis, arrays and fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) in (cancer) pathology diagnostics.

This course is therefore of interest for technicians, molecular biologists, residents, pathologists and clinicians.


Translational Immuno-oncology course (organizers: Dr. Yvonne Vercoulen, Dr. Jeanette Leusen and Dr. Antoine Khalil) 

(3 days - plus homework, 1.5 ECTS)

With this course we will bring a unique platform for students from 3 different PhD programs: Clinical  & Translational Oncology,  Infection and Immunity, Cancer Stem Cells & Development, to meet and learn from each other’s expertise.

The course will focus on Immuno-oncology, both on tumor effects on the immune system, and immune therapies. Both existing therapies, and novel therapies still under development or in trials will be discussed.

Students will be taught on the subject by medical specialists and scientists, and will be challenged to work with their colleagues from another expertise to find solutions for a clinical or experimental problem.

To promote an interactive setting, and knowledge exchange between students, we will accept a select group of students. 


PhD retreat (organized by CTO participants)

(1 day, 0.3 ECTS)

Only for PhD candidates of the CTO PhD program

A one-day meeting organized entirely by and for PhD candidates of the program. The PhD candidates committee composes a program of seminars by the senior PhD candidates, invited national speakers, and poster sessions by the junior PhD candidates, that are discussed between themselves without any interference from supervisors. The retreat is mandatory each year. Aim is to learn to be critical towards each other’s research and to facilitate networking.


Peer to Peer sessions (organized by the secretariat of CTO)

(5 monthly meetings of approximately 1 hour, 0.3 ECT's)

Only for PhD candidates of the CTO PhD program

Annual cycle of five monthly meetings of approximately 1 hour in a group of five CTO members. During each meeting one of the group members shares a short presentation of his/her PhD project (maximum 30 minutes presentation and 30 minutes interaction). Not necessary to primarily focus on your research results, but rather on general aspects of your PhD journey. The primary goal is to get to know each other, to increase community building, to learn from each other by sharing and to increase your awareness for different aspects of oncology research.


Generic courses organized by the PhD Course Centre GSLS



Courses to be followed outside of the CTO PhD programme

Only for PhD candidates of the CTO PhD program

Medische-Genetisch Centrum Zuid-West Nederland - Leiden/Rotterdam