Binding interactions between neuropeptides (body’s neural signalling molecules), drugs and their target molecules were the focus of the first PhD thesis defense resulting from IMI’s K4DD project. Idira Nederpelt of Leiden University was the author of the thesis which already resulted in six peer-reviewed publications, with more to come.
The thesis has helped expand the toolbox of available methods which allow more accessible measurements of how drugs and their target molecules interact in the body. According to Ad IJzerman, of Leiden University K4DD’s Managing entity and Indira’s PhD Promotor, ‘Indira’s study falls perfectly within K4DDs ambition to transform binding kinetics into traditional, indispensable, drug discovery parameters and thereby improve the success rate of drug discovery in the future.’
An important part of the K4DD project is its educational programme which has funded more than 20 post-docs and PhD students in the last five years. The programme has provided fellows with the opportunity to gain a thorough understanding of the connection between drug-discovery and drug development by offering them an extensive drug discovery course and several “binding kinetics” oriented symposia. Fellows also got the opportunity to improve their soft skills by taking a scientific writing course, career workshops and a presentation workshop. Several more PhD theses are expected to be successfully defended by the end of this year.