Sebastian Pomplun joins Oncode Institute to accelerate breakthroughs in cancer research
Sebastian Pomplun manages to reach proteins with drugs even where this was thought impossible. That is why he and his research group have been allowed to join Oncode Institute. With nine others, he had been selected from 72 applicants to contribute to Oncode Institute's mission: to accelerate breakthroughs in cancer research and translate discoveries from the lab into new treatments for patients faster.
Sebastian Pomplun studied Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Technologies. He succeeded in creating drugs that can reach proteins that were thought to be inaccessible to drugs. He also developed techniques that allow researchers to screen huge libraries of innovative chemicals. This allows them to identify new bioactive compounds: potentially new drugs.
Pomplun conducts research at the Drug Discovery & Safety Department, part of the Leiden Academic Centre for Drug Research. In spring 2022, he was awarded a €1.85 million ERC start-up grant. With this, he is working, among other things, on ways to disrupt cancer processes in cells by influencing the functioning of genes.
Ten new group leaders thanks to donor programme
Pomplun's work aligns well with Oncode Institute's mission: to accelerate breakthroughs in cancer research and translate discoveries from the lab into new treatments for patients faster. Oncode Institute is growing to 62 research groups spread across 13 universities and research institutes across the Netherlands. From 1 January 2024, thanks to donations through Oncode Institute's Major Donor Programme, ten junior group leaders and their research groups may join the consortium. Pomplun is one of them.
Clare Isacke, dean of the Institute of Cancer Research in London, member of Oncode Institute's international advisory board and chair of the selection committee, says: 'We are proud to invite a multidisciplinary group of young researchers to join this wonderful institute. Their diversity in background and expertise helps Oncode Institute's mission to focus on cancer research from different perspectives.'
Oncode Accelerator: 325 million from National Growth Fund
Leiden University is also involved in Oncode Accelerator. Oncode Accelerator was awarded 325 million grant from the National Growth Fund in May last year. With this, the consortium is working on ways to efficiently select the most promising compounds so that more experimental drugs reach the finish line. Leiden chemists, pharmacologists, biologists, and computer scientists, among others, are putting their shoulders to the wheel together. Mario van der Stelt, professor of Molecular Physiology at the LIC, was one of the architects.