The mission of Chemistry & Pharmaceutical Sciences (CPS) department is to reach fundamental breakthroughs in molecular life sciences and molecular medicine, with emphasis on the discovery of new biological targets. For this purpose, we study molecular activity and reactivity and aim to develop new and safe drug candidates and diagnostics. The department has explicit interest and expertise in innovative approaches for both research and teaching.
Moreover, we take pride in the education and training of are eager to educate and train talented young scientists who canto further substantiate our goals. The CPS mission has been recognized as a unique focus area in the ambitious national research and education agenda for chemistry (“Sectorplan Natuur- en Scheikunde (SNS) 2011-2025”).
The following themes are pivotal in achieving our ambitions:


Pharmacochemistry (Molecular Pharmaceutical Sciences) is strongly focused on the molecular characterization of drug targets, the design of new drug leads and the establishment of key toxicological and pharmacological profiles in the early stages of drug discovery and development. Molecular Pharmaceutical Sciences represents an important part of the molecular research in the Amsterdam Institute for Molecules, Medicines and Systems.

In the Division of Organic Chemistry you can find synthesis and chemical biology expertise… Synthesis and chemical biology expertise is provided by the Division of Organic Chemistry, with the chairs Bio-Organic Chemistry (Prof. dr. Romano Orru) and Chemical Biology (Prof. dr. Tom Grossmann). Organized in the Division of Medicinal Chemistry [link to page] are the chairs in Medicinal Chemistry (Prof. dr. Rob Leurs), Target and Systems Biochemistry (Prof. dr. Martine Smit) and Drug Design & Synthesis (prof. dr. Iwan de Esch). The Division of Molecular and Computational Toxicology consists of the chair Molecular and Computational Toxicology (Prof. dr. Nico Vermeulen) and the chair Molecular & Biochemical Toxicology (Prof. dr. Paul Jennings). These research chairs are recognized nationally and internationally for their important role in pharmaceutical research and as such are supported by both governmental research programs (NWO, STW), industry (national and international pharmaceutical companies) and public-private partnership projects (e.g., by the European Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) initiative).

BioAnalytical Chemistry

Analytical Chemistry finds widespread application in vital areas of the Dutch economy. Amsterdam is recognized as a national center of excellence for Analytical Chemistry in the roadmap for Physics and Chemistry. Positioned between fundamental sciences and final application, analytical science is at the heart of biomolecular research, providing methods and data required for better understanding of biology and disease. Analytical technologies are indispensable in the discovery and development of new drugs and biomarkers, and for elucidation and quantification of molecular structures. In the Division of BioAnalytical Chemistry are the chairs of Biomolecular Analysis/Analytical Chemistry (Prof. dr. Govert Somsen) and Analytics of Biomolecular Interactions (vacancy). In the Centre for Analytical Sciences Amsterdam (CASA), analytical groups of VU and UvA collaboratively hold an internationally recognized position in innovative analytical chemistry research and qualified teaching, covering a wide range of complementary fields, technologies and application areas. A second research chair of this division is currently vacant and recruitment is ongoing to find the expertise that is able to link the CPS department with more clinically applied institutes such as the academic medical center VUmc.

Computational Chemistry

At the interfaces of chemistry with biology and physics, challenging scientific opportunities exist that require advanced computational approaches to improve our molecular understanding. This applies especially to the description of life, and of new, complex, and bio-mimetic materials such as those appearing in catalysis and photosynthesis.

In Amsterdam, the integration of computational chemistry research and teaching activities has been achieved with the start of the Amsterdam Center for Multiscale Modeling (ACMM) in 2008. The VU contribution to the ACMM is formed by the joint staff of the groups in the Division of Theoretical Chemistry, that consist of a research chair focused on Quantum Chemistry (Prof. dr. Luuk Visscher and one on Multiscale Modeling (Prof. dr. Matthias Bickelhaupt). Within Europe, the combined expertise of the ACMM is unique; internationally few institutes of comparable depth and breadth exist, as is evident from accepted quality indicators like publication impact, recognition through prizes (Spinoza, four VICI's), memberships of academies and spin-off activities. The Computational Chemistry Theme of the CPS department is also supported by other divisions, including Molecular and Computational Toxicology and Medicinal Chemistry

Science, Business & Innovation (SBI)

The Division of Science, Business & Innovation ( SBI, chaired by Prof. dr. Bart Bossink) provides research and teaching on valorization of scientific discoveries. SBI integrates scientific and business aspects of innovations. It is strongly integrated with the research and teaching activities of the CPS and Physics department at VU University.

Innovations in human Health & Life Sciences

The research chair Innovations in Human Health & Life Sciences (prof. dr. Jacqueline van Muijlwijk) focuses on innovating teaching activities within the domain of chemistry and pharmaceutical sciences.
In all, the CPS department currently has thirteen full professors (see chart below).

chart CPS department updated  
With these activities, the CPS department is able to support the molecular focus of the research institute AIMMS. Also, CPS is intimately/ involved in providing the molecular basis and specialism in a wide range of teaching programs, including Pharmaceutical Sciences, Drug Discovery & Safety, the joint-degree Chemistry programs (in collaboration with the UvA), Science, Business & Innovation, Medical Natural Sciences (the latter two being shared with the VU Physics department) and others.