The EFMC’s communication team has been established to help promoting Medicinal Chemistry and Chemical Biology in Europe and around the globe, with the aim to create a shared network, and inspire young future scientists.
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Kristina Goncharenko works in the business development team at SpiroChem, fine chemicals company based in Basel, Switzerland. Her main goal is to support medicinal chemists around the globe in designing drugs of tomorrow. She completed her PhD at the University of Basel in a diverse field: by combining biochemistry, biology and chemistry her project was focused on understanding the mechanism of a novel enzyme called sulfoxide synthase. Kristina is an active member of the Swiss Chemical Society and helps to strengthen the communication between pharmaceutical industry and young chemists. She believes that having a close network of medicinal chemists and chemical biologists will support innovation in science.
Nadia Ahmad obtained her MSci. in Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry at Imperial College London, before moving to the University of Nottingham to undertake her PhD in natural product synthesis with Professor Nigel Simpkins. This was proceeded by a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Institute of Cancer Research, London, working under the tutelage of Professor Keith Jones.
She then joined Takeda at its Cambridge site in the UK, during which time she undertook a six-month secondment at the Takeda San Diego site, working on CNS disorders and inflammation. She then moved to Eli Lilly and was fortunate enough to be able to continue fulfilling her passion for neuroscience, working primarily on GPCRs. Nadia joined CRL in 2019 from Vertex Pharmaceuticals where she worked on ion channel and enzyme targets in the areas of neuropathic pain and neurodegenerative disorders, and cancer. She is a Group Leader in medicinal chemistry with responsibility for leading multi-disciplinary teams all the way from Hit ID to pre-clinical candidate.
Chiara Borsari is a medicinal chemist, working as postdoctoral fellow at the University of Basel (CH) in the group of Prof. M. Wymann. Her research is focused on the design and synthesis of small-molecule anticancer agents. Her main goal is the development of irreversible inhibitors as a novel strategy in targeted cancer therapy. She got her PhD at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia (IT). During her PhD, she has joined the NHRF in Athens (GR) and the State University of New York at Albany (USA), where she worked on phospholipids and polymersomes synthesis. She is also keen on communicating her science to the public. In 2019, her short movie “Life in Colour”, explaining the advancements in cancer research, has won the Jury Prize at the Exposure Science Film Hackathon. She has joined the EFMC communication team to boost the awareness of the importance of Medicinal Chemistry in science.
Piia Bartos is a post-doctoral researcher currently working at University of Eastern Finland. She got her PhD in pharmaceutical chemistry in 2015 from the same university where she studied sirtuin inhibitors. The increased activity of sirtuins is associated with many health benefits and longer lifespan, but in her project she was only able to find compounds to inhibit their function. She had no intention to make people sick and live shorter lives, though, as also sirtuin inhibitors could be useful in the treatment of some health problems, such as diabetes or cancer. She moved slightly away from her comfort zone of drug design and designed a variety of enzymes during her first post-doctoral position in Czech Republic, as obviously it is not challenging enough to design small molecules. After this international experience, she got back to University of Eastern Finland to use her newly learned computational simulation skills to understands the mechanisms of protein-RNA interaction. Piia joined the Communication Team to promote the slightly bizarre field of medicinal chemistry to everyone.
Caroline Lanthier is a third year PhD student in medicinal chemistry at CERMN (Centre d’Etudes et de Recherche sur le Médicament de Normandie) in Caen France under the supervision of Prof. Christophe Rochais. Her research focus on the development of pleiotropric drug of interest in Alzheimer’s Disease. During her pharmaceutical study in Lille, she was in charge of the communication for the local pharmacy student association for two years. She joined the EFMC communication team to help promoting the network and the field of medicinal chemistry.
Brieuc Matagne studied communication, marketing and political sciences at the University of Louvain, Belgium. Interested by the event planning world for a long time, he joined LD Organisation in 2014 as Conference Manager. In mid-2015, he started managing the Administrative Secretariat of the EFMC as part of his mission at LD Organisation. Since then, he is working behind the scene in helping running the daily business of the EFMC together with the Executive Committee Members. Lone non-scientist in this team of talented ones, he is using his expertise in communication and planning to assist the team in their mission to increase the EFMC visibility and brand awareness.
Michele Mari is Assistant Professor (RTD-A) in Medicinal Chemistry at University of Urbino Carlo Bo, He achieved his Ph.D. in Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences from the same university working on the strategic indole functionalization for the synthesis of tryptophan containing alkaloids and biologically active tryptamines. He spent 9 months at ETH Zurich as visiting researcher working on the total synthesis of proteins. In september 2017 he founded GLUOS (innovative Start up and University Spin off on the synthesis of molecules for medical devices) with some colleagues and he is actually the President of the Board of Directors of the company. He is also member of the organizing committee of the European School of Medicinal Chemistry, and he is active locally in spreading the importance of soft skills and entrepreneurship vision. The driving force that makes him so active is an infinite passion for Science.
Matic Proj is a recent graduate, currently working as a Medicinal Chemistry Researcher at the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. His research is focused on the design, synthesis and chemical analysis of novel organic compounds as potential enzyme inhibitors. Matic is active in a national Pharmaceutical Students’ Association, working as a Public Relations Representative. As one of the youngest members of the team with a great passion for science, he contributes his ideas, computer and social media skills. He has joined the team to gather new knowledge and experience, while promoting the field of Medicinal Chemistry and facilitating communication.
Luc Van Hijfte holds a PhD degree in Chemistry from Gent University (1984, Belgium) with Prof M Vandewalle, and finalized his academic training by a two-year post-doctoral stay at UCSB with Prof RD Little. He started his industrial career as a medicinal chemist at Merrell Dow in 1986 in Strasbourg, France, where he progressed to head of the medicinal chemistry by the time the site had become part of Sanofi in 1998. In 2002 he moved to Janssen, J&J, first as Research Director of their R&D site in Val de Reuil, France, before taking on the role of Senior Director, Head of Medicinal Chemistry EU, at Janssen Research & Development, with responsibility for European-based medicinal chemistry, analytical technologies, and ADMET.
During this tenure, Luc was privileged to contribute to several successful projects, with numerous programs entering into clinical development in the areas of neurosciences, oncology, and infectious diseases. In 2012 Dr Van Hijfte became CSO of NovAliX, Illkirch, France, before moving in 2017 to his actual position of Sr VP Medicinal Chemistry at Symeres, where he oversees a team of approx. 80 chemists executing medicinal chemistry activities for clients worldwide.
Dr Van Hijfte has been the Vice-President of the French Medicinal Chemistry Society (SCT) in 2015-16, President of the SCT 2017-18, and is currently member of the Executive Committee of the EFMC. In 2018, he has been elected and named member of the “Académie Nationale de Pharmacie” in France, for his multiple contributions to pharmaceutical developments.
Filipa Ramilo Gomes is a PhD student in Medicinal Chemistry at Instituto Superior Técnico, University of Lisbon, Portugal under the supervision of Prof. M. Matilde Marques (MedChemTrain PhD Programme). She received her master’s degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences at University of Beira Interior, Portugal. Before starting the PhD, she participated in multiple international projects related with Pharmaceutical Sciences and Medicinal Chemistry.
Her PhD project is focusing on cancer epigenetics, particularly the design, synthesis and biological evaluation of new EZH2 inhibitors. Filipa worked as PhD visiting student in the Computational Aided Drug Design field at University of Vienna and Inte:Ligand GmbH, Vienna, Austria. Then, Filipa moved to Hamburg, Germany, to work as PhD visiting student at Fraunhofer Institute- ScreeningPort, where she evaluated the biological profile of prospective new drugs.
Filipa joined the Communication Team and Young Scientist Network because she believes that only by working together with the best scientists, sharing ideas, ambitions and dreams, it is possible to contribute to address society’s health needs.
Dr. Clemens Zwergel is currently a PostDoc at the Sapienza University of Rome. In the last years he proved to be a true European citizen: he moved after his license to practise as Pharmacist from his country of origin (Germany) to Exter (UK) for a Diploma in Pharmaceutical Sciences. Before moving to Italy, he was then a MarieCurie fellow in France (Metz) where he obtained his EuroPhD within the RedCat network. Since 2010, his main research interest lies mainly in the design and synthesis of analogues of natural compounds as well as modulators of epigenetic enzymes with potential applications in cancer, neurodegenerative, metabolic, and infectious diseases resulting in more than 45 publications. Communication and divulging science are very important aspects for a researcher, thus I would like to increase the visibility of Medicinal Chemistry and the EFMC to the scientific community as well as the general public as well as strengthen the European collaborations together with the other team members.