PhD candidate / guest
Julia Hillger is a Ph.D student at the Division of Medicinal Chemistry. In 2012 she started her PhD in Prof. IJzerman’s group with the focus on personalized medicine and label-free technologies.
While studying Biopharmaceutical Sciences at Leiden University, I developed a keen interest in Medicinal Chemistry and decided to do several internships in the various disciplines that it combines. I started with my bachelor internship at the Medicinal Chemistry group, LACDR, by characterizing the interaction of small molecule allosteric ligands with their drug target, the adenosine A 2A receptor. During my first master internship at the same group, I focused specifically on ligands by synthesizing and designing long acting small molecule antagonists for the chemokine receptor CCR2. The subject of my final master internship was the characterization of the drug targets themselves. For six months, I worked at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA, under Dr. Shuguang Zhang on developing a cell-free production method capable of producing high quantities of purified GPCRs that retained their structure and function even without the presence of biological membranes.
After completing my master Bio-Pharmaceutical Sciences in August 2012, I started my PhD in Prof. IJzerman’s group with the focus on personalized medicine and label-free technologies. Personalized medicine uses a patient’s genetic information to fine-tune drug prescriptions, thereby decreasing risks of ineffective treatment and inappropriate dosing. In order to determine whether different genetic variants of drug targets indeed lead to differences in drug responses, our collaborative project between the VU, LACDR and LUMC uses a combination of bioinformatic tools and label-free, cell-based high throughput screening methods.