Natalia Ortiz Zacarias
PhD candidate / guest
Natalia Ortiz Zacarías is a Ph.D. student at the Division of Drug Discovery & Safety. She aims to gain new insight on the concepts of allosteric modulation and binding kinetics to improve the development of better drugs and the prediction of in-vivo outcomes.
My passion for Pharmaceutical Sciences started in my home-country, Mexico, where I did my bachelor studies on Biological and Pharmaceutical Chemistry. During my undergraduate studies I had the opportunity to gather experience in different disciplines of Pharmaceutical Sciences, by working as an intern in a community pharmacy, a drug information center and a hospital pharmacy. Later on, after my graduation, I worked for two years as a hospital pharmacist in a local hospital, where I focused on medication therapy management and pharmaceutical care.
Next to these professional experiences, I also assisted in a research project focused on biomaterials for controlled drug delivery, which inspired me to continue my studies in a research-oriented master program. This led me to perform my master studies in Leiden University, where I followed the MSc in Bio-Pharmaceutical Sciences from 2012-2014. Here I did two research internships and a literature review. First, I performed a 9-months internship at the department of Medicinal Chemistry, LACDR, where I worked on the characterization of the sodium binding pocket of the Adenosine A2A receptor. I performed my second 6-months internship at CHDR, where I worked on the simulation of multiple-dose regimen of fosfomycin as a potential therapy for multi-drug resistant infections.
These research experiences motivated me to continue with a PhD degree, and therefore, on November 2014 I started as a PhD student in the department of Medicinal Chemistry, under the supervision of Prof. IJzerman and Dr. Heitman. In these four years, I will focus on chemokines receptors, aiming to gain new insight on the concepts of allosteric modulation and binding kinetics to improve the development of better drugs and the prediction of in-vivo outcomes. For this, I will be using a combination of radioligand binding and functional assays.