The Evolution of Alzheimer’s Disease

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Type Research internship

Bibliometric Research, Innovation Sciences, Drug Development, Alzheimer’s Disease, Dementia, 3R (Test Animal Welfare)

Alzheimer’s Disease (dementia) is considered to become the epidemic of the third millennium. Since its discovery in 1901 the only available treatment can temporarily reduce the disease, however there is still no cure. Alzheimer’s Disease takes a devastating toll not only on the patients suffering from it, but also the families surrounding them and society itself. Failure of drug candidates (attrition) is extremely high; 99.6% in clinical trials from 2002 to 2012. There is a lack of predictive preclinical (animal and alternative) models. In addition, the clinical definition and diagnoses of the disease includes a group of patients with a high degree of heterogeneity.

You will perform a bibliographic analysis and look at the development of Alzheimer’s disease over time, from discovery of the disease in 1901 up to now. Factors examined will be the dominance in the field regarding definitions and diagnostic criteria of the disease, the type of preclinical (animal and alternative) models used, and drug candidates that are being developed. This will show how the disease is perceived from the perspective of etiology, symptoms and possible treatments. This will then feed into the question to what extent the definition of the disease influenced the innovation dynamics in the field of dementia. Has the characterization of the disease driven the development of animal models, or do animal models drive the disease and thus the treatments being examined? Who and what is dominating the Alzheimer’s drug development field? In the end, you will be able to show the co-evolution of science, technological development and societal categorizations in the field of Alzheimer’s.

Your internship will be part of a project that aims to improve the use (and replacement) of test animals in a collaboration of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences (Utrecht University), Innovation Sciences (Utrecht University) and the CBG/MEB (Medicine Evaluation Board Utrecht) and has received funding from the ministry of Economic Affairs and the ministry of Public Health and Sport.

The aim of this project is to publish a manuscript.


Interested in and motivated to perform bibliometric / literature (computer) research
Proficient in (at least) English
Currently studying for a MSc degree related to: Innovation Sciences, Biomedical Sciences
Start date is flexible
Available for a 3-9 months full-time or part-time internship or for writing a master thesis

Preference for bachelor or master student Master students
Study MSc Innovation Sciences
Field Innovation, Environmental and Energy Sciences
Starts To be determined
Length Between 6 and 9 months
Location Utrecht
Language English
Application procedure

Please send a short motivation letter and your C.V. to and

Innovation Studies, Pharmaceutics

Heidelberglaan 2
3584 CS UTRECHT The Netherlands

Contact Faculty of Geosciences
Frank van Rijnsoever (IS)