News

Nico Vermeulen received honorary doctorate for his research into side-effects
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Nico Vermeulen, professor of Molecular Toxicology at VU University, received an honorary doctorate from the University of Copenhagen on Friday November 18. He received the doctorate as recognition for his research into how drugs are degraded in the body, sometimes causing serious side-effects. Vermeulen has authored or co-authored over 350 scientific publications and is one of the most frequently cited scientists in this field.

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Enade Istyastono wins Henk Timmerman Award for computational medicinal chemistry research
Enade Istyastono [picture: Media Indonesia Newspaper, October 2011]

Enade Istyastono, PhD-student in the Division of Medicinal Chemistry (VU University Amsterdam), obtained the prestigious Henk Timmerman Award, honoring outstanding young Indonesian researchers who are working in the area of pharmaceutical sciences.

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Gerard van Westen awarded Prize for Best Presentation at the FIGON Dutch Medicines Days
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Gerard van Westen (Division of Medicinal Chemsitry leiden) was awarded the first prize for the best presentation in the Pharmacochemistry session at the FIGON Dutch Medicines Days, October 3rd-5th this year.

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Medicinal Chemists (VU University Amsterdam) win poster awards for research on the investigation of ligand binding pockets in pharmaceutically relevant proteins
Petra de Kruijf and Sebastiaan Kuhne win poster awards at the FIGON Dutch Medicines Days 2011

Petra de Kruijf won a FIGON poster award and Sebastiaan Kuhne received a Perkin Elmer/KNCV Pharmacochemistry poster award. Both prizes were awarded at the FIGON Dutch Medicines Days 2011 in Lunteren.


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Therapeutic nanobody discovered by VU Medicinal Chemists enters clinical trials
The first llama-derived single chain antibody targeting the CXCR4 chemokine receptor

Researchers from the Division Medicinal Chemistry (led by Prof. Martine Smit and Prof. Rob Leurs) and the Belgian Biotech company Ablynx have discovered the first llama-derived single chain antibody (nanobody) targeting the CXCR4 chemokine receptor, a protein that plays a key regulatory role in hematopoietic stem cell trafficking.

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Albert Kooistra wins 2nd prize in Molecule Design competition
Albert Kooistra (Medicinal Chemistry VUA): Winner of the 2nd prize in the Molecule Design competition organized by Cresset

Albert Kooistra, PhD-student in the Division of Medicinal Chemistry (VU University Amsterdam), has won the 2nd prize in the international Molecule Design competition organized by the software company Cresset.


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Pharmacological tool developed by VU Medicinal Chemists to study inflammation
Herman Lim and Rogier Smits discovered and pharmacologically characterized VUF8430 as a selective H4 histamine receptor agonist.

VUF8430 is a selective agonist of the histamine H4 receptor that has been discovered and pharmacologically characterized by Rogier Smits and Herman Lim during their PhD projects in the Medicinal Chemistry Division of the VU. Recently VUF8430 has been included in the chemical catalogues of Ovata Chemicals and Tocris Bioscience, making this pharmacological tool generally available tothe study of H4R-mediated inflammation.

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Biomolecule separation at the nanoscale on the cover of Analytical Chemistry (Audio Interview available)
The cover of Analytical Chemistry shows a separation of four compounds at the border of an ion-depleted zone

A combination of nanofluidic and electric phenomena has enabled researchers from the LACDR and the Netherlands Metabolomics Centre to create one of the world's smallest separation techniques. This was published last week as a cover issue in Analytical Chemistry. The separation technique may find many applications in the healthcare of the future.


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Onno Meijer receives Pharmacology Award from the Dutch Pharmacological Society
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Dr. Onno Meijer from the Division of Medical Pharmacology has been awarded the NVF-prijs voor Farmacologie (formerly known as the Organonprijs voor Farmacologie) by the Dutch Pharmacological Society. This award is granted every two years not only as recognition for excellent performances but also as motivation for further pharmalogical research.

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Prof Joke Bouwstra (Drug Delivery Technology) won prestigious C.E.R.I.E.S. Award.
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The CE.R.I.E.S. Research Award is intended to honour a researcher with a proven track record in fundamental or clinical research, especially in the physiology and biology of healthy skin, but also on the responses of the skin to the environment.  The  C.E.R.I.E.S. Award of € 40.000 will be used for future research.

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Gerard van Westen Awarded Prize for Best presentation by Junior Scientist at the TI-Pharma GPCR Forum workshop
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Gerard van Westen was awarded a prize for the best presentation by a junior scientist at the TI-Pharma GPCR Forum workshop June 8-10th this year. At this workshop in total 14 junior scientists presented their work.

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Dr. Iwan de Esch wins Galenus Researchprijs for Biocomputational Molecular Design & Chemical Synthesis
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Dr. Iwan de Esch, Associate Professor in the Medicinal Chemistry group at VU University Amsterdam has received the prestigious Galenus Research Prize. The prize (5.500 Euros and a golden medal) was awarded on Monday June 27th in the presence of Minister of Health, Edith Schippers. 

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Excellent teaching by Medical Pharmacology recognised
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Last week the division of Medical Pharmacology received 2 honourable awards for excellent teaching and supervision of students.

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Prof G.J. Tammeling Teaching Prize for Dr O.C. Meijer
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Dr Onno Meijer (Division of Medical Pharmacology) is the 2011 recipient of the prof G.J. Tammeling prize for Best Teacher at the Leiden University Medical Center. This annual prize is awarded for outstanding teaching in either curriculum of the Medical Faculty,  Biomedical Sciences or Medicine.

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LACDR Spring Symposium 2011
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On May 12th 2011, LACDR organised the anual Spring Symposium. Key speakers were Prof.dr. Kostas Kostarelos (Professor of Nanomedicine and Head of the Centre for Drug Delivery Research, School of Pharmacy, London, UK) and Dr. Veronique de Vroey (Director Discovery Screening, Janssen Research & Development, A Division of Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, Beerse, Belgium).

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NWO-TOP grant awarded to Ad IJzerman
TOP IJzerman - Figure 1

Ad IJzerman, from the Leiden University Division of Medicinal Chemsitry has been awarded an NWO TOP grant for his research.  In the average textbook on pharmacology the interaction between a drug or ligand and its receptor is often described in a cartoon-like, two-dimensional fashion (Figure 1a). In the current era of structural biology more information is being added to this picture, to the extent that we now know the 3D architecture of many soluble drug targets.

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Melly Oitzl is new NWO ALW board member
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The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) comprises several units. Eight Divisions for Sciences develop new research programmes, assess subsidy requests and monitor projects that NWO finances. ALW- Earth and Life Sciences is one of NWO’s eight Divisions for Science. Professor Melly Oitzl from Medical Pharmacology is now a board member of this Division.

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Microfluidic research as cover article in Lab-on-a-Chip
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Work of Paul Vulto and co-workers has been selected as HOT Article and features on the cover of Lab on a Chip. This leading microfluidics journal coins technology “ready to revolutionise microfluidics”.

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Rogier Smits wins Mercachem Farmacochemieprijs for best thesis Medicinal Chemistry
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Dr. Rogier Smits received the Mercachem Farmacochemieprijs for the best PhD thesis in Medicinal Chemistry in 2009-2010. Dr. Rogier Smits received the award (€2000) and gave a lecture about his work on the "Design and Synthesis of New Histamine H4 Receptor Ligands" during the Spring Meeting of the KNCV Medicinal Chemistry Division.

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Spring Symposium 2011 - Program now available
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During this full day symposium, all current LACDR PhD-Students will present a poster. Additionally, one PhD per division presents his or her research in full during the LACDR PhD Competition. The winners will represent LACDR in the National Competition during the FIGON Medicine Days. Two leaders in the field of Drug Research will provide the Key Lectures.

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