Introduction

Ambitions (yes, we’re ambitious …)
Structured coffee break (courtesy Scripps Institute)

This very first page is a good place to mention our ambitions here at the Division of Medicinal Chemistry of Leiden University. We want to understand drug action at ‘high resolution’, thus at an almost atomic level. We want to use that understanding for a more rational approach of drug design. We have chosen the most important class of drug targets to work on, the G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). Close to half of all medicines work via these targets in our body.

Well, one can’t study all receptors, as there are over 800 of them in the human body. So, we have selected a few to concentrate on, receptors for adenosine, for chemokines and for nicotinic acid. We pursue a ‘chemical biology’ approach, in which we combine synthetic chemistry, new developments in the world of informatics and computer science (bioinformatics, cheminformatics), and both biochemistry/molecular biology and pharmacology. That is quite ideal, as we now have in one hand all ingredients to come up with ideas for new drugs, make them, and see how they work.

Why don’t you read more about the fascinating four adenosine receptors? One may help to cure Parkinson’s disease, most are involved in the actions of caffeine…

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Highlights

Dr. Dong Guo won the Dutch Medicinal Chemistry prize 2013-2014
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On March 27th, 2015 the biannual Dutch Medicinal Chemistry Prize for the best Dutch Ph.D. thesis in the field was awarded to Dr.

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Discoverer of the Year 2014: Annelien Zweemer
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Former PhD student Annelien Zweemer was granted the C.J. Kok Award 2014, also known as “Discoverer of the Year”.

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Natalia Ortiz awarded for the KNMP Student Prize
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Natalia Ortiz, a current PhD student in our department, was awarded the KNMP Student Prize during the last autumn Congress 2014 of the Royal Dutch Pharmacists Association (Koninklijke Nederlandse Maatsch

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Indira Nederpelt was awarded best oral presentation at the FIGON Dutch Medicines Days 2014
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Indira Nederpelt presented her work at the FIGON Dutch Medicines Days held on October 6 2014 in Ede and provided a kinetic perspective on the characterization of clinically used GnRH peptide agonists. She was awarded with the best oral presentation prize from the section medicinal chemistry of the KNCV