Professor Molecular Pharmacology
Prof.dr. Laura H. Heitman is Professor of Molecular Pharmacology at the Division of Drug Discovery and Safety at the Leiden Academic Centre for Drug Research (LACDR, Leiden University). Moreover, since January 2019 her research group is also part of the Oncode Institute. Her research interests are mainly focused on understanding and improving drug-receptor interactions, to ultimately make medicines work better. Specifically, she focuses on novel concepts for drug action, such as target binding kinetics and allosteric modulation and studies these on membrane proteins, mostly G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs).
Dr. Heitman is the recipient of multiple awards, including the ‘2017 MedChemComm Emerging Investigator’-award, runner up for the ‘2018 EFMC Young Medicinal Chemist in Academia’-award and runner up for the ‘2018 Prix Galien Research’-award. She has obtained several competitive research grants, all allowing her to study these novel, clinically relevant and highly translational concepts for drug action. Specifically, her work is funded by the Dutch Cancer Society (Oncode – for personal excellence), Dutch Organization of Scientific Research (VENI, VIDI – both for personal excellence), Chinese Scholarship Council, EU-Innovative Medicines Initiative (large consortia: K4DD and RESOLUTE), and through collaborations with pharmaceutical industry. Her current research team consists of 8 PhD students, two Post-Docs and two technicians, and she has successfully graduated 9 PhD students so far, who all have been selected for exciting new positions.
Her research activities have currently led to an authorship on over 80 papers in this field, including one in Science (2012) and one in Nature (2016), and she is first or senior/corresponding author on 36 of these. Currently, her H-index is 29 and the total number of citations is over 2900 (both according to Google Scholar). Moreover, she is a frequently invited speaker (>50 lectures) at conferences in her field (e.g. drug discovery, medicinal chemistry, GPCRs), but also at pharmaceutical companies, universities and knowledge institutes. Lastly, she is referee for many peer reviewed and high impact journals in her field (e.g. Medicinal Research Reviews, Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, British Journal of Pharmacology, Expert Opinion in Drug Discovery, MedChemComm, ACS Chemical Biology, and Molecular Pharmacology) and has been invited as an opponent for both national and international thesis defenses.
As a teacher she is active in all years of the bachelor and master Bio-Pharmaceutical Sciences (BPS), in the new master of Pharmacy and in the master of Chemisty, all at Leiden University. Next to the more typical team and people management activities, she is responsible for Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) used in her department, responsible for the radioactive (B-)lab of the Faculty and a consultant on molecular pharmacology of GPCRs for several biotech companies. She has been involved in the organization of several local, national and international conferences and courses in her field and she is a member of several committees and boards, e.g. the Scientific Advisory Board of the Centre for Human Drug Research in Leiden and the Division of Medicinal Chemistry committee from the Royal Dutch Chemistry Society.
Laura's search for better medicines
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- Lid Scientific Advisory Board