All staff involved

VU University

Prof. Iwan de Esch (Fragnet Coordinator)

Prof. Iwan de Esch
(Fragnet Coordinator) – did his PhD research at the Department of Pharmacochemistry, VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands. In 1998, he became research associate at the Drug Design Group of the University of Cambridge. Dr de Esch is a co-founder of De Novo Pharmaceuticals (2000) where he worked as a group and project leader. Dr de Esch returned to academia in 2003 and is now professor at the Medicinal Chemistry Department. The group focuses on two research lines, namely G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) and fragment-based lead discovery (FBLD). Iwan is interested in applying FBDD approaches for lead discovery on a wide variety of targets (including GPCRs, kinases, PDEs and PPIs) and to use fragment-based approaches to study the ligand-protein binding event (in terms of affinity, thermodynamics and kinetics). Dr. de Esch is co-founder of IOTA Pharmaceuticals Ltd (2007) and Griffin Discoveries BV (2009). In 2011, he was awarded the Galenus Research Price for his work on FBLD.

Dr. Jacqueline van Muijlwijk

Dr. Jacqueline van Muijlwijk– assistant professor in Medicinal Chemistry research group and educational director Dr Jacqueline van Muijlwijk did her PhD research in a joint project between the Department of Pharmacochemistry, VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands, with Leiden University, the Netherlands. Her interest is the combination of medicinal chemistry research and innovation of science education. She got experience in teaching at all levels and in several disciplines: high school, higher education (applied sciences) , undergraduates and graduates. In 2006 she was the coordinator of a consortium of >30 high schools, 2 schools for applied sciences and 2 universities in Amsterdam in the field of natural sciences. Dr. van Muijlwijk was co-founder of (member of the MT of the department of Chemistry and Pharmaceutical sciences) and involved in the development of the bachelor programme Science Business and Innovation (SBI). In 2010 she became managing director of the Amsterdam Institute for Molecules, Medicines and Systems. From 2013 she is educational director of bachelor and master programmes in Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Dr. Iina Hellsten

Iina Hellsten, Associate Professor in Social Sciences with expertise in communication networks, science and technology studies (STS) and scientometrics.

Other Staff Involved

Dr. Chris de Graaf – assistant professor Computational Medicinal Chemistry with 12 years experience in computational chemistry, chemoinformatics, and computer-aided drug discovery and design. 
Dr. Maikel Wijtmans – assistant professor Drug Synthesis with 14 years experience in synthetic organic chemistry, awarded the best academic chemistry teacher in The Netherlands (2013-2016). 
Prof. Martine Smit – full professor of Target & Systems Biology and 22 years experience in biochemistry and molecular pharmacology Prof. Rob Leurs – full professor Medicinal Chemistry, 24 years experience in research on medicinal chemistry and industrial applications and is co-founder of Griffin Discoveries. 
Prof. Peter van der Sijde – full professor Science, Business & Innovation, has a background in social sciences. He does research and teaching that is focused on entrepreneurship and technology transfer.


York University

Prof. Peter O’Brien

Prof. Peter O’Brien joined the University of York in 1996 and was promoted to Professor in 2007. He is the recipient of the RSC Organic Stereochemistry Prize (2013 – for development and applications of the (+)-sparteine surrogate), a GlaxoWellcome Award (2000) and the RSC Meldola Medal (1999). He has published 125 papers and has a h-index of 32. In research since 2010, the O’Brien group have reported the first high yielding asymmetric lithiation-trapping of N-Boc piperidine, synthetic reactions showing that (+)-sparteine surrogate complexed to i-PrLi or s-BuLi in THF whereas (–)-sparteine did not (with Hilmersson), synthesis of 3-D lead-like scaffolds using N-Boc α-lithiation (with Hubbard) and the preparation of enantiomerically pure Grignard reagents. Recently, O’Brien has pioneered the use of in situ React IR spectroscopy to monitor the lithation of N-Boc heterocycles, work carried out via collaborations with Merck (USA), AstraZeneca and Lilly including the first example of real-time monitoring of N-Boc rotamer interconversion using in situ React IR (with Coldham). Currently, the group has two research themes: (i) discovery of new asymmetric α-lithiation methodology and application in medicinal chemistry; (ii) design, synthesis and evaluation of 3-D fragments for the systematic exploration of 3-D pharmaceutical space – a project supported by a pharmaceutical consortium (Astex, AstraZeneca, Lilly, Pfizer and Vernalis).

Website link: 

Prof. Rod Hubbard

Prof. Rod Hubbard has been at the University of York for over 35 years. During the 1980s, his main research interests were the development of molecular graphics and modelling methods, leading to the programs HYDRA and QUANTA which were used worldwide. Some of this work was while on sabbatical in Harvard where he worked with Martin Karplus, including some of the first use of computational methods to exploit fragments that can bind to protein active sites. During the 1990s, he helped to build and develop the York Structural Biology Laboratory as a major centre for protein structure analysis. This included many productive collaborations with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies such as Novo Nordisk, GSK, Celltech, Chiroscience, Pfizer, KaroBio and Peptide Therapeutics) working on therapeutically important proteins. This led to interests in exploring protein-ligand interactions and how to use protein structure for drug discovery. He took the opportunity in 2001 to spend some time at the company RiboTargets (now Vernalis) to establish structure and fragment based methods in a real drug discovery environment. He has continued to split his time between York and Vernalis. His personal research in York is on development and use of discovery methods for chemical biology and the three main research areas reflect the ESR projects available: (1) discovery of activators of industrial enzymes, (2) design and application of novel 3D fragments, (3) probing the bacterial replisome for druggable sites.

Website link: 


Hungarian Academy of Sciences

Prof. György M. Keserű

Prof. György M. Keserű obtained his Ph.D. at Budapest, Hungary and joined Sanofi-Aventis CHINOIN heading a chemistry research lab. He moved to Gedeon Richter in 1999 as the Head of Computer-aided Drug Discovery. He earned D.Sc. from the Hungarian Academy of Science in 2003 and he was invited for a research professorship at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics. Since 2007 he was appointed as the Head of Discovery Chemistry at Gedeon Richter. He contributed to the discovery of the antipsychotic VRAYLAR™ (RGH-188, cariprazine) that received FDA approval in 2015. From January 2013 he serves as the general director of the Research Center for Natural Sciences at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. His research interests include medicinal chemistry, drug design, and in silico ADME. He has published over 170 papers and more than 10 books and book chapters. In 2014 he received the Overton and Meyer Award with György G. Ferenczy from the European Federation of Medicinal Chemistry for their contribution to new strategies of medicinal chemistry optimizations.

Dr. György G. Ferenczy

Dr. György G. Ferenczy obtained his PhD in computational chemistry from the Eötvös University of Budapest. He post doc’ed at the Oxford University, UK and at the University of Nancy, France. He joined to Gedeon Richter as a computational chemist and was appointed to a group-leader in 1996. He moved to Sanofi Budapest in 1999 prior to joining to the Strasbourg Drug Design Group of Sanofi as a group leader. From 2012 he is a senior research fellow at the Semmelweis University. He is currently a scientific advisor at the Research Centre for Natural Sciences of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. His research interest includes the development and application of computational tools for extended biochemical systems, and in particular studying molecular interactions relevant for drug discovery. He is the author and co-author of over 60 scientific papers and book chapters that received over 1500 independent citations.

Barcelona University

Prof. Xavier Barril

Prof. Xavier Barril received his Ph.D. from the University of Barcelona in 2001 for theoretical studies on the ligand-receptor molecular recognition process. He then joined the Applications Modelling team at Vernalis (Cambridge, UK), where he was involved in a range of projects, mainly in the oncology area. In 2005 he was appointed ICREA Research Professor and joined Barcelona University’s School of Pharmacy. He has co-authored more than 60 scientific publications, including research papers, reviews and book chapters. Prof. Barril is a well known and highly influential, as attested by an h-index of 30, the numerous invited talks at international conferences that he has imparted or by his editorial and managerial posts. With a strong focus on translational research, Prof. Barril is co-author of 7 patents and co-founder of Minoryx Therapeutics, a company focusing in the development of new treatments for rare diseases.
Dr. Barril’s research focuses on the discovery of bioactive molecules exploiting unusual mechanisms of action. This is done through a combination of computational and experimental techniques. In parallel, his group develops new computational tools to tackle such tough targets and strives to improve the understanding of pharmacologically important biological events (e.g. binding kinetics, allosterism) at the molecular level.

Dr. Carlos Galdeano

Dr. Carlos Galdeano is a post-doctoral researcher at UB who has recently joined the Barril’s lab after three years post-doctoral experience in Ciuli’s lab (U. Dundee). Dr. Galdeano has been working in several interdisciplinary research groups around Europe and USA and he has learned new and broad range of concepts and ideas in the drug discovery field, which yielded an excellent number of publications, conferences presentations and prizes. His project aims at the identification and characterization of chemical probes to validate specific SCF-E3 ligases.

Dr. Axel Bidon-Chanal

Dr. Axel Bidon-Chanal is an associate professor at UB who has broad experience in the investigation of structure-dynamics-function relationships in proteins, the molecular determinants of biomolecular association and the design of novel bioactive compounds.


Early Stage Researchers (ESR)


Edward Fitzgerald

Edward Fitzgerald – has recently obtained an M.Sc in medical biotechnology with thesis work carried out at the Wyss Institute, Harvard University. His project focused on incorporating human cells into a novel microfluidic chip or “Organ-On-A-Chip” to develop a human model of the blood-brain barrier. Upon completion Edward was awarded a fellowship to continue his research at Harvard working on novel therapeutic strategies and drug delivery across the brain. Prior to this Edward a native of Ireland conducted his undergraduate studies at the National University of Ireland Galway where he received a B.Sc(Hons) in biopharmaceutical chemistry. During that time he worked on a computational drug discovery project at The Complex Carbohydrate Research Centre, University of Georgia USA. Currently Edward is interested in epigenetic drug targets for the central nervous system.

Project: ESR6: FBLD experimental methods
Industrial supervisor: Prof Helena Danielson (Beactica, Uppsala University)

David Hamilton

David Hamilton – began his further education at Winstanley College, Wigan, in 2010 before embarking on a Chemistry degree at the University of York, UK. After three years of undergraduate study in York, he spent the final year of his MChem working in the discovery group at Takeda Pharmaceuticals in Cambridge, UK. It was here that he developed a real interest in the application of organic chemistry to the medicinal setting, having particular interest in the multidisciplinary nature of the field. In 2016 he secured a PhD position on the FragNet project, working on the development of small 3D aliphatic rings for use in fragment based drug discovery, under the supervision of Dr Maikel Wijtmans and Prof. Iwan de Esch at Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam. He is also a keen badminton player and runner, and other personal interests include languages (Spanish, and hopefully Dutch), travelling, films, reading, equality and the outdoors.

Project: ESR 1: 3D Fragments with small aliphatic rings
Academic supervisors: Dr. Maikel Wijtmans and prof. dr. Iwan de Esch (VU University Amsterdam)

Sébastien Keiffer

Sébastien Keiffer – early stage researcher in fragment-based lead discovery (FBLD) at ZoBio BV in Leiden, the Netherlands. He started his bachelor’s studies in Chemistry in 2010 at the Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg, Germany, which he finalised with a bachelor’s thesis in biochemistry in 2013 on nitrous oxide reductase (N2OR) in the lab of Prof. Einsle. Afterwards, he enrolled in the newly-established Biochemistry & Biophysics Master’s course, during which he accomplished a semestral internship at the Ribbe lab at the University of California, Irvine, USA, working on the nitrogenase complex. He finished his Master’s studies in the Einsle lab in 2015 with a thesis on an uncanonical sulphite and its appertaining electron shuttle. He enrolled in the Fragnet programme to expand his the theoretical and practical horizon and realise its feasibility in a more industrial environment, focussing on contemporary challenges by investigating ligand-protein binding events of proteins involved in diseases. He has experience in recombinant protein production in bacterial systems, the subsequent purification and crystallisation, and some analytical methods to determine enzyme kinetical and thermodynamic parameters; everything both under oxic and anoxic conditions and in the light of structural biology.

Project: ESR5: Biophysics Based FBLD
Industrial supervisor: Dr. Gregg Siegal (Zobio)

Hanna Francesca Klein

Hanna Klein (Marie Curie Early Stage Researcher)– completed her MSc research on the Synthesis of Antifolates in the Department of Chemistry at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. At the end of 2013, she joined Endocyte Inc.; an American biopharmaceutical company situated within Purdue University’s Research Park. As a member of their Discovery Chemistry research group she worked on the development of Small Molecule Drug Conjugates (SMDCs) as part of their targeted therapy approach for the treatment of cancer and inflammatory diseases. More specifically she was involved in the early stage synthesis of various targeting ligands and peptidic/carbohydrate based spacer units as well as in their conjugation to cytoxic agents. She is currently completing her PhD studies on the Design and Synthesis of Novel 3D Lead-Like Compounds under the supervision of Professor O’Brien and Professor Hubbard at the University of York, UK.

Project: ESR2: Novel 3D fragments
Academic supervisor : Prof. dr. Peter O’Brien and Prof. dr. Rod Hubbard (University of York)

Maciej Majewski

Maciej Majewski – is an ESR at the University of Barcelona supervised by Prof. Xavier Barril. After five years of intensive studies in biology, chemistry and physics, he obtained BSc (2014) and MSc (2016) in Molecular Biophysics at the University of Warsaw. During that time he was working in Prof. Jacek Jemielity lab at the Center of New Technologies. His project was related to chemical synthesis of modified nucleotides, mostly analogs of 5’ mRNA end (cap), and use of gold nanoparticles in biosensing. Maciej also graduated from BSc of Chemistry (2015), after working in Dr. Joanna Sulkowska group, on non-trivial topologies in protein structure prediction. He received numerous scholarships from Polish Ministry of Science, University and European Union. In 2015 Maciej was given an opportunity to be a part of Janelia Undergraduate Scholars Programme, where he worked in Dr. Luke Lavis lab on chemical synthesis of novel fluorescent dyes. In his free time, when he is not designing drugs or working in the lab, Maciej is traveling, watching science-fiction movies and working out.

Project: ESR10: Fragment evolution platform – molecular simulations
Academic supervisor: Prof. Xavier Barril (University of Barcelona)

Eleni Makraki

Eleni Makraki – took a merit scholarship entering in Biology Department (Bachelor degree), University of Crete, Greece. In 2012, worked as research assistant at the Crystallography laboratory of Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (IMBB-FORTH) of Crete-Greece under supervision of professor Michael Kokkinidis. Her basic education includes a Master of Science in “Protein Biotechnology” programme (2013) of Biology department, University of Crete-Greece, which carried out with excellence. In 2014, Eleni joined the Enzyme Biotechnology laboratory (IMBB-FORTH) of professor Vassilis Bouriotis working on the polysaccharide deacetylase, BA0330, from Bacillus anthracis as potential drug target during her master research. In 2016, she returned to Crystallography laboratory (IMBB-FORTH) where she worked as research assistant. She is interested in applying fragment-based method for lead activation of industrial important enzymes and drug discovery.

Project: ESR12: Covalent fragments to activate industrial enzymes
Academic supervisors: Prof. dr. Peter O’Brien and Prof. dr. Rod Hubbard (University of York)

Lena Munzker

Lena Münzker – is the Marie Curie PhD Fellow in the Fragnet program under the supervision of Dr. Wolfgang Jahnke and Dr. Andreas Marzinzik in the Center of Proteomic Chemistry at Novartis Basel. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry and a Master’s Degree in Biological Chemistry from the University of Vienna in 2015. During her studies, Lena Münzker did a 6-month internship on the synthesis of oligosaccharides at SynphaBase in Switzerland and carried out her Master’s Project in Prof. Paul Robert Hansen’s lab at the University of Copenhagen. In her Master thesis, she reported the successful on-resin synthesis of macrocyclic peptides via intramolecular halide displacement and applied the strategy on the synthesis of lipidated cyclic and bicyclic antimicrobial peptides. After finishing her studies, she took the opportunity to join Prof. Nathanael Gray’s lab at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston and learned new techniques and methods in the field of protein kinase inhibitors. She will combine and expand her experience in her PhD project, which comprises structural biophysics and fragment-based drug discovery to identify novel inhibitors of the Trypanosomal cruzi FPPS for the treatment of Chagas’ Disease.

Project: ESR14: Targeting allosteric pockets with FBLD
Industrial supervisors: Dr. Andreas Marzinzik and Dr. Wolfgang Jahnke (Novartis)

Moira Rachman

Moira Rachman chose to pursue a PhD as research and education are her passions. At the VU University Amsterdam’s, Medicinal Chemistry group, she gained a strong theoretical and practical background, as well as teaching experience, in the field of medicinal chemistry. Here, she obtained a Bachelor’s in Pharmaceutical Sciences and a Master’s in Drug Discovery & Safety with a specialization in Drug Design & Synthesis. She is enthused by computer aided drug design (CADD) methods aimed at retrieving potent and safe ligands. During her Master’s thesis project, she developed an automated method for gathering ligand-target interaction data on Phosphodiesterases (PDEs). Furthermore, she developed an algorithm that assembled, aligned and docked novel ligands generated from PDE building blocks. She then performed a study on incorporating synthetic feasibility in CADD methods using known fragment libraries. During her Bachelor’s project, she performed docking studies on possible H-1 Receptor (H1R) ligands, and synthesized several H1R ligand analogues. As of September 2016, Moira Rachman will be occupying the ESR9 position, in which the main goals are to create a platform for chemical navigation that is capable of guiding fragment-to-hit evolution, and to apply the method on targets such as epigenetic factors, Janus Kinase and FTSQ.

Project: ESR9: Fragment evolution platform – chemical navigation
Academic supervisor: Prof. Xavier Barril (University of Barcelona)

Angelo Romasanta

Angelo Kenneth Romasanta is a graduate of the Erasmus Mundus Master in Chemical Innovation and Regulation under the consortium of the University of Barcelona, University of Algarve and University of Bologna. Passionate about bridging science and business to catalyze innovation, he took modules on evaluating the discoveries in the laboratory with the current market and regulations landscape. Through a collaboration between the Centro de Quimica Estructural in Lisbon and the Molecular Crystal Engineering group in Bologna, he did his thesis on understanding how new polymorphs, cocrystals and solid solutions can be synthesized from various molecules and evaluating the implications on pharmaceutical patents. Previously, he finished BS Chemistry at Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines as Magna Cum Laude. He worked on mercury biosensors for mining site health monitoring for his thesis and was later employed as a research assistant on the same project. He has experience working for firms at the interface of science and business: the consumer goods company Procter and Gamble, the technology incubator Ideaspace and founded his own startup. He has attended various business and innovation conferences such as ASEAN Business Challenge in Singapore, Global Startup Youth in Kuala Lumpur and World Business Dialogue in Cologne.

Project: ESR15: Science, Business & Innovation in the pharmaceutical sciences
Academic supervisors: Prof. Peter van der Sijde, dr. Iina Hellsten & dr. Jacqueline van Muijlwijk (VU University Amsterdam)

Andrea Scarpino

Andrea Scarpino – obtained his MSc in Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Technologies at the Department of Pharmacy, University of Pisa, Italy. His master’s thesis focused on the identification of new LDH-5 inhibitors through a multidisciplinary approach, by combining computational chemistry and synthetic organic chemistry. He mostly applied computer-aided drug design (CADD) approaches to generate a pharmacophore model, to perform virtual screening of compound libraries spanning a wide chemical diversity, and to make reliable predictions by means of consensus docking and molecular dynamics studies. Andrea is mainly interested in developing his computational background in drug discovery, and as ESR8 in FragNet he will apply CADD methods to identify fragment-sized covalent binders to be further extended into lead-like compounds. The ultimate goal of his project is to design and validate a computational protocol that integrates experimental data and covers many aspects of the in silico Fragment-Based Lead Discovery (FBLD) process, for the identification of new covalent inhibitors of FragNet targets.

Project: ESR8: Virtual Screening of Fragment Libraries of Covalent Binders
Academic supervisor: Prof. dr. György M. Keserű (RCNS)

Darius Vagrys

Darius Vagrys – obtained his BSc in Bioengineering in Vilnius Gediminas Technical University (Lithuania) in 2013, followed by MSc in Biochemistry in Uppsala University (Sweden) in 2016. During his studies, he was involved in numerous scientific projects, such as developing and performing interactions assays for protein – small drug-like molecules using surface plasmon resonance (SPR) and thermal shift assay (TSA), in terms of affinity and kinetics. In addition to this, he was also involved in synthesizing short peptides, using solid-state peptide synthesis. His final Master project involved the expression of the target proteins, fragment screening and evaluation of data, addressing Hepatitis C protein NS5B of various genotypes using an SPR based approach, in collaboration with prof. Helena Danielson’s group at Uppsala University and GE Healthcare Bio-Sciences (Uppsala, Sweden). Following this, he worked at GE Healthcare Bio-Sciences developing current and future Biacore SPR systems. Darius is interested in FBDD and the applications of various biophysical techniques (SPR, ITC, MS, NMR and X-ray crystallography) to tackle the occurring challenges.

Project: Development of FBLD techniques for Intrinsically Disordered Proteins
Industrial supervisor: Dr Ben Davis (Vernalis Research)

Lorena Zara

Lorena Zara – graduated at the University of Cagliari, Italy. During her studies she learned how to use the X-ray diffraction for identifying the molecular structure within a protein crystal. During her work in Organic Synthesis at the University of Cagliari, under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Elias Maccioni, she was trained in the use of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy for identification, hit validation, optimization and potential structure-based drug design and learned how to synthesize novel triazine derivatives, as inhibitors of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase increasing her skills in drug discovery. From September 2015 to March 2016, she participated in the research activity on control and harvest of the bacterial expression of a protein and learned how to use the high performance liquid chromatography for the isolation and purification of the 17β-HSD14 protein with research group of Prof. Dr. Gerhard Klebe, at the Pharmaceutical Chemistry department of Philipps Universität Marburg, Germany. From September 2013 to September 2014 she spent a year, within the LLP/Erasmus program, at the University of Granada, Spain. There, she had the opportunity to expand her practical experience by working in different laboratories.

Project: ESR11: Fragment-based approaches to identify novel PPI inhibitors
Academic supervisors: Dr. Jacqueline van Muijlwijk and prof. dr. Iwan de Esch (VU University Amsterdam)


Vernalis Ltd

Dr. Ben Davis

Dr. Ben Davis is a research fellow at Vernalis Reserch. His main focus is in the development and application of Fragment Based Lead Discovery (FBLD) approaches, especially when applied to more challenging classes of proteins and other macromolecules. In particular, he is interested in the use of NMR and other biophysical techniques to probe molecular interactions.

Dr. Davis is also involved in developing strategies to more readily bridge the gap between fragments and “classical” hits and leads, and in the identification and structural characterization of ligand:receptor interactions by NMR and other biophysical methods. Since 2001, he has been heavily involved in the development and application of fragment based lead discovery technologies to a wide range of therapeutic targets.

Dr. Davis studied protein folding by NMR for my PhD with Professor Alan Fersht at Cambridge University Chemical Laboratory, before moving to Dr Paul Driscoll’s NMR group at University College London where he worked on protein-ligand interactions.

In 1998, he joined RiboTargets, a biotech company formed out of the Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge UK, where he worked on applying structure based drug discovery techniques to a variety of RNA and protein targets. In 2003 RiboTargets merged with Vernalis, and focussed research towards protein targets. Since 2001, he has been heavily involved in the development and application of fragment based lead discovery technologies to a wide range of therapeutic targets. Dr. Davis has published more than 20 scientific papers, and written five book chapters on protein-ligand interactions and FBLD. He frequently speaks at scientific conferences, mostly on protein-ligand interactions and FBLD, and has taught postgraduate courses on SBDD and FBLD at York and Oxford Universities. He is also on the Scientific Advisory Boards for various organizations, and is currently a member of the BBSRC Pool of Experts. His scientific expertise is in the area of biomolecular NMR, biophysical techniques, molecular interactions, protein structure and folding, fragment-based lead discovery (technologies and applications) and drug discovery methods and approaches.


Zobio BV

Dr. Gregg Siegal

Dr. Gregg Siegal obtained his Ph.D. on studies of eukaryotic DNA replication at the University of Rochester in the USA under the supervision of Professor Robert Bambara. Subsequently he did a post-doc in the laboratories of Professor Kurt Wüthrich at the ETH in Switzerland and Professor Paul Driscoll at the Ludwig Institute of Cancer Research in the UK. It was during his post-Doctoral work that Dr. Siegal was exposed to NMR as a tool for both structural biology and drug discovery. He moved to Leiden University in 1997 where he received a Dutch Royal Society Fellowship to form his own research group. His current research interests focus on the development and application of innovative drug discovery technologies. In 2004 he spun out the company ZoBio to commercialize the TINS ligand screening technology developed in his group and presently serves as the Chief Executive Officer in addition to his position within the University.

Dr. Dipen Shah

Dr. Dipen Shah did his Ph.D. with Gregg Siegal on “NMR Structural Studies of Protein-Small Molecule Interactions. For the past 3 years he has worked as a scientist at ZoBio. His expertise lies in preparing proteins for structural biology and ligand discovery/validation. In addition, Dipen has pursued graduate courses in project management.

Dr. Oscar van Linden

Dr. Oscar van Linden obtained his Ph.D. with Prof. Iwan de Esch at the VUA in collaboration with Gregg. Oscar is a synthetic/medicinal/computational chemist with particular expertise in kinases.

Dr. Eiso AB

Dr. Eiso AB obtained his Ph.D. at the University of Groningen (NL) and post-Doc’ed at Utrecht University. He is one of the world’s leading experts on calculating the structure of proteins and protein-small molecule complexes from NMR data.


Beactica AB

Dr. Per Källblad

Dr. Per Källblad – Ph. D. in Drug design Per Källblad co-founded Beactica in 2006 and is Chief Executive Officer. He has significant international experience in interdisciplinary pharmaceutical research and has worked in collaborations with Aventis, Rhone-Poulenc Rorer, Roche, Cancer Research UK, Peakdale Molecular, Biovitrum and Tibotec. Per Källblad received his Ph.D. in Drug Design from Cambridge University, UK. He was a founding scientist at De Novo Pharmaceuticals Ltd (1999-2004), a Cambridge University spin-off that raised £17.5m in venture capital to bring a new drug discovery tool to market. At Medivir AB he worked with preclinical strategies for therapeutic targets on internal and external projects (2004-2006).

Dr. Konrad Koehler

Dr. Konrad Koehler– Ph.D. in Organic chemistry received his Ph.D. in organic chemistry at Emory University, Atlanta Georgia, and completed a N.I.H. funded postdoctoral fellowship at Sanford University, Palo Alto, California. Konrad Koehler has over 25 years’ experience in molecular modelling and drug discovery. He has worked at Searle R&D, Merck Italia, Solvay Pharmaceuticals GmbH, and Karo Bio AB where he has held a variety of positions including section head and project leader. Konrad Koehler was instrumental in establishing drug discovery collaborations with Abbott Laboratories, Bristol Meyers-Squibb, Merck & Co., and Pfizer, which resulted in four drug candidates that underwent clinical trials. Konrad Koehler joined Beactica in September 2015 as principal scientist.

Dr. Ulf Bremberg

Dr. Ulf Bremberg – Ph. D. in Organic chemistry Ulf Bremberg joined Beactica as Chief Scientific Officer in 2015, with a background in medicinal chemistry and extensive experience of industrial pharmaceutical research, with emphasis on early discovery, patent strategies and oncology. Ulf has previously headed up the Lead Identification Facility at the Drug Discovery & Development Platform of SciLifeLab, a national pharmaceutical research infrastructure formed by a collaboration between Karolinska Institute, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm University and Uppsala University. Earlier positions include Chief Scientific Officer of OncoTargeting AB as well as positions as Chemistry Team Leader and Medicinal Chemist at Biovitrum and Pharmacia. Ulf did his post-doc at the Scripps Research Institute and holds a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from KTH Royal Institute of Technology.

Prof. Helena Danielson

Prof. Helena Danielson is Professor of Biochemistry at Uppsala University in Sweden since 2002. She is a specialist in enzyme-based drug discovery and molecular recognition. Her basic education includes a Master of Science in Chemical Engineering at Lund University in 1982 followed by a Master of Science in Biochemistry, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY, USA in 1984, carried out as a Fulbright scholar. She returned to Sweden and obtained a Ph. D. in Biochemistry at Stockholm University in 1987. As a postdoc at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm Helena Danielson started a research project on HIV protease as a drug target for AIDS, and has since then expanded her research to other enzymes and diseases, more recently also with an interest in membrane receptors, ion channels, protein-protein interactions, cell signaling and neurological function. Helena Danielson has focused on developing enzymology for drug discovery, and in particular SPR-biosensor based biomolecular interaction analysis for detailed studies of enzyme-inhibitor interactions and other important recognition processes in the life science area. Helena Danielson co-founded Beactica AB in 2006 and was Chief Scientific Officer until 2014. Now she is on the Board of Commissioners. She has held many administrative positions at Uppsala University, and was the Dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology 2011-2014. At present, she is head of the Department of Chemistry – BMC. 


Novartis Pharma AB

Dr. Wolfgang Jahnke

Dr. Wolfgang Jahnke received his PhD with Prof. Horst Kessler at the Technische Universität München. He worked with Dr. Peter Wright at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, before joining Novartis in 1995. In his 20 years at Novartis, Wolfgang has pioneered the application of protein NMR spectroscopy and fragment-based approaches in drug discovery. His contributions were internally and externally recognized by the Novartis Leading Scientist award in 2002, and the Industrial Investigator Award by the Swiss Chemical Society in 2014. Wolfgang has co-authored more than 80 scientific publications and patents, is member of the executive committee of the Magnetic Resonance Section of the German Chemical Society and of the Experimental NMR conference, has co-organized the Fragment-Based Lead Discovery Conference FBLD2014 in Basel, and has co-edited two books on fragment-based lead discovery. Wolfgang is currently Director in the Structural Biophysics department and is responsible for the development and application of NMR spectroscopy and other biophysical methods for lead discovery at Novartis, especially with respect to fragment-based drug discovery.

Dr. Andreas Marzinzik

Dr. Andreas Marzinzik is Director in the Hit Generation Science department at the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research. Andreas studied chemistry at Bochum University and received a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Essen University. He joined Novartis in 1995 and served various roles within research until 1999, where he joined Prof. K. B. Sharpless’ group at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla for a year-long sabbatical. Andreas was appointed head of the Integrated Combinatorial Lead Discovery program in 2000. He was awarded the Novartis Leading Scientist award in 2005. His research expanded from combinatorial library methodologies and screening to new hit finding technologies for difficult targets and alternative inhibitory approaches for kinases. After initiating antibody drug conjugates chemistry and implementing peptide therapeutic group at Novartis, he moved to his present position as Director in Hit Generation Science. Andreas’ research is concerned with Medicinal Chemistry for protein-protein interactions, lead generation chemistry, library science, and recently he also took the chemistry lead regarding the implementation of DNA encoded chemistry and ribosomal synthesis of macrocyclic peptides.




Prof. Mike Hann

Prof. Mike Hann is director and principal scientific investigator in chemical sciences (computational and medicinal chemistry, structural biology, biophysics and FBLD). Adjunct Professor, Dept of Chemistry, Imperial College, London.



F. Hoffmann-La Roche

Dr. A. Ruf

Dr. A. Ruf has an expertise in drug discovery, biophysical fragment screening, crystallization nd structure based-design .




Laurent VUILLARD (PhD) (m) – head of structural biology has been involved in structure based drug discovery for many years and will pilot the placements at Servier IDRS.


IOTA Pharmaceuticals

Dr. David Bailey

Dr. David Bailey (PhD) (m) – CEO of IOTA has expertise in company leadership (Pfizer, Incyte) and has been involved in structure-based drug design (De Novo Pharmaceuticals) and fragment-based approaches for many years.

Dr. Paul England

Dr. Paul England (PhD) (m) – CSO of IOTA, has 25 years of experience of drug discovery in both big pharma (SmithKline Beecham) and biotech (Aurora, Vertex).


24 Media Labs

Dr. Max Bingham

Dr. Max Bingham has 14 years of experience in science communications, writing and editorial, in parallel with 10 years experience as research scientist in academia and industry (Unilever) and 4 years as founder of 24MLabs.

Contact details

Please contact us at:

FRAGNET Coordinator
VU University Amsterdam
The Netherlands

Funded by

Marie Curie Actions

EU Horizon 2020

European Union