In 1998, on a proposal of Stichting prof. dr W.Th. Nautafonds, the VU University decided to install an extraordinary chair in pharmacochemistry at the Faculty of Sciences.
The new chair was meant for periods of five years. The chair should be occupied by a renowned scientist in a discipline contributing to the field of pharmacochemistry.
The selection procedure for a candidate would be the same as for any professor at the VU University; all responsibilities and rights for the new chair would be the same as for any other professor of the VU University as well. It will be expected from the appointed professor to be available -on the average – 0.5 to 1 day per week for serving the department. He or she would not receive a normal salary, but rather a compensation for costs involved for executing the duties. The new chair was named Receptor Pharmacochemistry
The first professor at the new chair was Dr. Ad P. IJzerman, who was appointed in 1998. At the time dr IJzerman was an associate professor at the Leiden University. Dr. IJzerman’s research in Leiden focuses on the ligands of adenosine receptors, a subject closely adhering to one of the research fields, of the department, the histaminergic system and its ligands.
As in 2002 prof. IJzerman was appointed as full professor in medicinal chemistry at the Leiden University, which was for him a reason to vacate the extraordinary chair in Amsterdam early.
As a second professor at the newly created chair Dr Eric J. Haaksma was appointed as per 1 January 2006.
Dr Haaksma is employed at Boehringer Ingelheim RCV GmbH where holds the position of vice president Medicinal Chemistry. In his function he is responsible for the different aspects of Medicinal Chemistry, i.e. organic synthesis, computational chemistry as well as structural research.
Professor Haaksma teaches on ‘structure based design’ especially and contributes directly to the supervision of students – both master and Ph. D students- at the department in Amsterdam, and is co-author of several papers of the department. He not only has a regular on-site presence in Amsterdam but also contributes via tele-conferences with staff and students. The close collaboration has resulted in several successful industrial traineeships where students could participate in several active drug-discovery programs.
As per 1 April 2018 Dr. Gregg Siegal has been appointed at the chair ‘Biophysical techniques for drug discovery’. Professor Siegal obtained his PhD from the University of Rochester- USA.He moved to the Leiden University – Leiden Institute of Chemistry – and started from there the company ZoBio. This company focuses on the development of new biophysical technologies to detect new molecules with biological activities useful for application in medicines. Professor Siegal will contribute to the master programmes of the Dpt. Medicinal Chemistry of the Vrije Universiteit Another important aim of the new chair is to intensify interactions between research groups at academia, especially the Vrije Universiteit, and the pharmaceutical industry.