Universiteit Leiden

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This Week's Discoveries | 12 november 2019

dinsdag 12 november 2019
Niels Bohrweg 2
2333 CA Leiden
De Sitterzaal

First lecture

Gender differences in early computing education: which girls will become computer scientists?

Fenia Aivaloglou is an assistant professor at LIACS, as well as the Open Universiteit.
Her research work is on computing education and software engineering. She is interested in how programming is taught at schools, code clubs and universities. Fenia enjoys working with data and mining repositories. She is exploring gender differences in programming education and wants to someday see gender-balanced CS classrooms.
Her personal website is:

Computing education currently begins at the elementary school age. Several countries are currently enriching their school curriculum with computing courses. Young children also often learn programming at after-school programming clubs. Can this early introduction to programming help in bridging the gender gap in computer science? To explore the traits of female students that have increased potential to become computer scientists, we have ran experimental programming courses in elementary schools. Moreover, we conducted an exploratory survey where we invited after-school programming clubs teachers to report their perceptions of gender differences among their students. Our findings contribute to the body of work on bridging the gender participation gap in computer science by shedding light on how girls are different than boys in programming classes and how they can be encouraged to pursue a career in computer science.

Second lecture

Probing GPCRs: Chemical Biology tools in Medicinal Chemistry research.

Daan van der Es (LACDR)
Daan van der Es is assistant professor of medicinal chemistry at the Leiden Academic Centre for Drug Research. After obtaining his PhD in organic synthesis in the Bio-Organic Synthesis group at the LIC, he moved to the division of Drug Discovery and Safety at the LACDR. He aims to study drug-target interactions on a molecular level, by developing chemical tools that can be used in further biochemical and pharmacological studies.

The development of irreversibly binding (covalent) ligands for drug targets is a recurring endeavor in the field of drug discovery. Recent developments in the field of covalent kinase inhibitors applied as novel, highly selective therapies for cancer have revived interest. Especially the encompassing research to study the pharmacology of these inhibitors on a molecular level has induced the notion that this can be a safe and efficacious therapeutic approach. In the field of G Protein-Coupled Receptors, a protein family representing some of the most popular drug targets, the development of covalently binding drugs is not generally considered a viable approach. One of the reasons for this might be the lack of structured studies into the target engagement profiles of such molecules. We aim to develop chemical probes that can serve as tool molecules to more accurately study the interaction between (covalent) ligands and G Protein-Coupled Receptors and thus further assess the druggability of these proteins. In this presentation, the development of covalent ligands and subsequent molecular probes is discussed.

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