Molecular print boards as general platforms for protein immobilization
Promotion date: 21 September 2007
Protein immobilization is important for e.g. diagnostic systems in hospital laboratories. The proteins that are characteristic of the illness need to be detected, wich can be done for instance by immobilization of an other protein which has the ability to bind the protein of interest. This way yuo separate this specific protein or the array of proteins apart from all the other proteins in the blood. A molecular printboard is nothing but a gold or glass surface with β-cyclodextrin molecules anchored to it in a hexagonal, dense fashion. We have developed different orthogonal linkers which have a side which can bind to the molecular printboard, and another side that can bind to a protein. It is thinkable that ultimately you can put an array of protein detecting molecules on the print board, but I am the first in our group working in this field. My research deals with the basic principle of protein attachment to the molecular printboard.
Your back ground of course is chemistry?
Yes, I studied chemistry in Leiden. I knew that I wanted to do a PhD and looked for a project that interested me. That’s how I ended up here.
What did you like most about your research?
Often things seem difficult, but I found that if you keep on trying to really understand what you are doing and how you are doing it, you will eventually get results. You need to be very familiar with the equipment you are working. It is very satisfactory that in the end your efforts pay off. I worked with enthusiasm on every chapter of my thesis and am satisfied with the results. On the other hand there are so many experiments I could have done but did not do because of lack of time.
Did you encounter any problems?
Due to illness in the second year I had to stop for quite a while. On the one hand it was a big struggle to do a PhD and being ill at the same time, on the other it was good to be able to focus on something else. The riddles that needed solving gave me the distraction I needed.
Are others going to continue in your line of research?
I know that there is a postdoc position on this project. It is gratifying to think that others will continue. It gives me the feeling that the work I have done leads to somewhere and has been useful. It proves that my work was not only interesting for me, but also for others.
What are your future plans?
I will do a postdoc first and if everything goes well I will start work with LioniX (a Mesa+ spin-off company) after that. The postdoc I will do also has to do with the immobilization of enzymes in microchips, so that is possible to mimic the pheromone production system in a moth.