On Monday the 7th of June, the pre-course will take place. The pre-course aims at improving your research skills. To master your research skills, several masterclasses are organised. In addition to that, a lecture about Your Future at the UMCG, two speed keynote lectures, a Science Elective and to finish the day a social programme activity will be held.


09:00-09:30Day opening
09:30-11:10Masterclass 1
11:50-13:20Science Elective
14:30-15:00Your Future at the UMCG
15:00-16:00Speed keynote lectures:
Minke J.C. van den Berge MD PhD
Jasper Nuninga PhD
16:00-17:30Masterclass 2
19:30-21:00Ronald McDonald Pub Quiz


Minke J.C. van den Berge MD PhD

Minke J.C. van den Berge MD PhD, is ENT resident in the University Medical Center Groningen, the Netherlands.

Tinnitus, which literally means ‘ringing in the ears’, is defined by the perception of sound or noise in the absence of an external physical sound source. It is a very common condition (prevalence 5%–18% in Western population) and, in a subgroup of patients, it causes extreme distress with far-reaching consequences for daily activities and quality of life. Unfortunately, for many patients, a satisfactory treatment modality is lacking. The auditory brainstem implant (ABI) was originally indicated for hearing restoration in patients with non-functional cochlear nerves, for example, in neurofibromatosis type II. In analogy to a cochlear implant (CI), it has been demonstrated that an ABI may reduce tinnitus as a beneficial side effect. For tinnitus treatment, an ABI may have an advantage over a CI, as cochlear implantation can harm inner ear structures due to its invasiveness, while an ABI is presumed to not damage anatomical structures. Minke van den Berge and colleagues in the University Medical Center in Groningen designed an experimental pilot study the investigate the effect of the ABI on intractable tinnitus. Details and preliminary results of this interesting study will be shared in the ISCOMS 2021 meeting.

Neurobiological effects of fast-acting antidepressants

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is an effective and rapid treatment for a depressive disorder. Although it has been introduced in the 1930s (and greatly improved afterwards), the working mechanisms of ECT remain unknown. Furthermore, the exact effects of ECT on the brain are not yet fully understood. In this speed keynote lecture, dr. Jasper Nuninga presents research trying to uncover the working mechanism of ECT. In addition, he will compare this to another fast-acting antidepressant: oral or intravenous ketamine administration.

Jasper Nuninga PhD


Here you can see which masterclasses will be available at ISCOMS 2021

(bio)Medical Statisics

Dr. Mostafa el Moumni

In 90 minutes, an overview of statistical techniques will be given. Together with the participants several questions will be answered including:

  • What is the link between probability theory and statistics?
  • Why is it important to use descriptive statistics?
  • What is a statistical test and when do we use which test?
  • How do we calculate a sample size?

Based on the article of Phung et al. (2002) on risk factors for low birth weight, we will go through several steps of the statistical process. Starting with descriptive statistics, refreshing the theory of univariate tests and confidence intervals, we will end up making and interpreting several regressions models: linear, logistic and Cox regression for survival.

Emphasis will not be on formulas and mathematics, but on understanding the logic behind the statistical tools. Depending on the interest of the participants, more time can be spent on elementary or advanced statistics.

How do scientific reviewers review your article?

Prof. J.A. Lisman PhD

After years of meticulous study design, data analysis and perfecting your article, there is only one task left; getting your article published!

How do you choose the right scientific journal for your manuscript, and what happens after the submission of your article to your journal of choice? Which features render your paper attractive to the editor and how do you increase the likelihood that your manuscript will be sent out for review? What will convince the reviewers that your work is good and how do you respond to their comments? How do you react to a rejection by the editor, would you accept it or fight for your article?

Prof. Ton Lisman PhD will help you to find the answers of all these questions in this very interactive Masterclass.

Data analysis in (bio)medical research

R.G. Pleijhuis MD PhD

What is the probability that an individual patient will respond to a certain therapy? Or will develop serious side effects from it? Clinical prediction models can be used to provide answers to these important questions, therewith providing a solid basis for clinical decision making.

The amount of clinical prediction models published in the literature has increased exponentially over the past few decades. Also, more and more attention is being paid to machine learning algorithms for clinical application. But why is it then that only a few prediction models actually make it to the clinic? And do machine learning algorithms actually perform better than conventional prediction models?

In this interactive masterclass, R.G. Pleijhuis MD PhD, internist and founder of prediction platform Evidencio, will provide an answer to above-mentioned questions. You will learn how to create a fully functional web-based prediction model yourself in just a few simple steps. Finally, possibilities to judge clinical prediction models on their merits will be discussed.

An abstract: the invitation to your research

Sabine Bartel Phd

The scientific abstract is one of the most important parts of a scientific paper or grant application as it presents the features of your research and with that immediately shows the quality of the paper. Your abstract can therefore be an invitation for fellow researchers to find out more about your research. This workshop is all about the writing of a convincing scientific abstract. The learning objectives are directed towards the structure of the abstract as well as towards effective and comprehensible formulation of complex problems and research constructions. The course will consist of a short lecture followed by assignments in groups and discussions.

You can choose your own track consisting of a combination of two masterclasses:

Track 1Track 2Track 3Track 4
(bio)Medical StatisticsAn abstract the invitation to your researchHow do scientific journals review your articlesData analysis in (bio)medical research
How do scientific journals review your articlesData analysis in (bio)medical researchAn abstract the invitation to your research(bio)Medical Statistics

Your future at the UMCG

If you want to know more about PhD positions and research at the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG), come to Your Future at the UMCG! The director of the Graduate School of Medical Sciences (GSMS) Martin J. Smit, PhD, will give a detailed presentation about the possibilities of doing research and the opportunities to gain a PhD position at the UMCG. The session will be concluded with a personal story from a PhD graduate.

Science elective

The Science Elective will be held between the masterclasses. Besides the educational parts of the day, the Science Electives are meant to be a fun part of the day! You can choose between a patient lecture, a debate, a critical review of House MD’s approach and an interactive course to the WHO approach to global health.

Patient lecture about burns

Sonja Scholten MD

In the patient lecture, you will have the opportunity to talk to several patients who have had severe burns and they will tell about how this affected their lives.

WHO public health: UN/WHO Universal Health Coverage Program

Em. Prof. Cees Th. Smit Sibinga

Where are we and what is happening today? In 2010 during the World Health Assembly, a Resolution was adopted which expresses serious concerns on the fact that large groups of patients in developing countries still have no access to proper health care, essential medication and blood products. Additionally it was observed that a growing number of people was being pushed into extreme poverty because of catastrophic out-of-pocket payments for health care costs.

By 2012 this number has grown to over 100 million, where over half of the global population still does not have full coverage of essential health services, medicines and in vitro diagnostics.

In 2012 the UN General Assembly adopted a Resolution on Global Health and Foreign Policy where all Member States agreed to work towards achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) by 2030, which was later included as one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 2016-2030. UHC means that all people and communities can use the promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative health services they need, of sufficient quality to be effective, while also ensuring that the use of these services does not expose the user to financial hardship. UHC embodies three related objectives:

  1. Equity in access to health services – everyone who needs services should get them, not only those who can afford and pay for them;
  2. The quality of health services should be good enough to improve the health of those receiving services;
  3. People should be protected against financial risk, ensuring that the cost of using services does not put people at risk of financial harm and/or poverty.

Then the world was struck by COVID-19, that hit like a devastating tsunami. WHO responded with a global leadership programme to stop the spread and prevent continuation.


Els Maeckelberghe PhD, Prof. dr. Eduard Verhagen, Marije Brouwer MA

This year, the debate will be about ethics considering euthanasia. The leading statement during this debate will be: ‘When suffering becomes unbearable: ethical dilemmas in pediatric end-of-life decision-making’. Three experts will set the stage for a thorough reflection on the ethical challenges facing us.

House MD Gynaecology

Marco Versluis MD PhD

In this Science Elective we will analyse a gynaecological episode of the fascinating House MD series. During this Science Elective, a specialist on the topic of the episode will discuss the facts and myths of a House MD episode.

Doctor Gregory House is not known for his commitment and empathy towards his patients, staff or interns. These characteristics often place him, his colleagues and patients in problematic situations. However, to what extent is an episode realistic? Are the disease characteristics of the patients similar to those in real life? And are the used diagnostic tools actually suitable? What can we actually learn from this television programme?

These questions will be answered during this interactive course, where participants will be able to judge and discuss the authenticity of a House MD episode.