Universiteit Leiden

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Willem Jespers

PhD candidate / guest

W. Jespers MSc
+31 71 527 4328

I am currently enrolled as a PhD student at Uppsala University in Johan Åqvist lab, under supervision of Hugo Gutiérrez de Terán. Additionally, I am a guest researcher at Leiden University, under supervision of Gerard van Westen. Previously, I completed the Bachelor Pharmacy at Utrecht University, where I followed the specialization ‘Drug Innovation’. My Bachelor thesis focused on the application of Thermodynamics in Drug Design. It was there that I first got interested in the application of computational methods in drug design, and I decided to pursue a master’s degree BioPharmaceutical Sciences, specializing in Medicinal Chemistry at Leiden University. My first internship, under supervision of Bart Lenselink, focused on the application of interaction fingerprints (IFPs) in virtual screening (DOI: 10.1021/acs.jcim.6b00314). Thereafter I went on an Erasmus exchange to Uppsala University, where I focused on the application of free energy perturbation in lead optimization, under supervision of my current PhD supervisor Hugo. Thereafter, I completed an extra internship at Copenhagen University funded and supervised by David Gloriam, reviewing the available mutagenesis data on adenosine receptors in light of the recent advances in crystallography and structure based drug design (DOI: 10.1016/j.tips.2017.11.001). I obtained my Master’s degree (cum laude) in September 2016.

My current work involves the application of structure based drug design in the development of new chemical modulators for G Protein-Coupled Receptors (GPCRs). These membrane proteins are targets of many drugs currently on the market, and the interest of both academia and industry for this receptor family is substantial. I am involved in several projects in close collaboration with academic and industry partners. We have an ongoing collaboration with Eddy Sotelo (Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Spain), Heptares Therapeutics (UK) and Leiden University, focusing on the design of new scaffolds and tool compounds for the adenosine receptors. Furthermore, we work on the design of ligands for orphan GPCRs with David Gloriam (University of Copenhagen, Denmark). Finally, I am involved in the development of new tools for structure based drug design, in collaboration with Bjørn Olav Brandsdal (Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø).

PhD candidate / guest

  • Wiskunde en Natuurwetenschappen
  • Leiden Academic Centre for Drug Research
  • LACDR/Medicinal Chemistry

Work address

Gorlaeus Building
Einsteinweg 55
2333 CC Leiden
Room number EM4.16



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