Having a broad interest in chemistry, I started the bachelor program Molecular Science and Technology at Leiden University and the Technical University of Delft in 2012. After graduating in 2015, I found the use of chemistry within biological systems very interesting. I therefore decided to start the master program of Chemistry in Leiden, with a specialization in Chemical Biology. My master thesis work was in the molecular physiology group of Prof. Mario van der Stelt, working on probes designed to bind and detect phosphatases. I found it fascinating to create and test molecules that could bind to medicinally relevant proteins. This made me do an internship at the Technical University of Munich, in the group of Dr. Stephan Hacker. Here I developed more reactive probes, able to bind to amino acids all over the proteome.
During my PhD project, I will further contribute to the toolbox of chemical biologists by making probes for the adenosine receptors: the A1, A2A, A2B and A3 receptors. These are the receptors that are blocked by caffeine, for example by drinking a cup of coffee. This already implies the physiological relevance of these receptors, but the adenosine receptors also seem to play a role in various pathological conditions. Chemical tools that are able to bind and detect these receptors would therefore contribute to our knowledge about adenosine receptor signaling, but also to our knowledge about receptor signaling in general. Therefore, in my PhD project, I am designing new molecules and setting up new biochemical assays to bind and detect the adenosine receptors. This will all take place under supervision of Prof. Adriaan IJzerman and Dr. Daan van der Es.
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