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Karlijn Keijzer Scriptieprijs 2023 awarded to Thom van Gemeren

11 June 2024
On Thursday 27 June 2024, the Karlijn Keijzer Scriptieprijs 2023 will be presented to Thom van Gemeren, first-year MSc student Drug Discovery Sciences at Vrije Universiteit (specializing in the Synthesis of Drugs track).

In 2023, Thom completed his BSc studies in Pharmaceutical Sciences cum laude and with a successful research project in Medicinal Chemistry within the VU Department of Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences. During his internship, Thom addressed challenges in the synthesis of anti-histamines and hence in the discovery of novel types of these anti-inflammatory drugs, thereby focusing on variants with increased efficacy. Thom is a highly motivated and driven student and he clearly demonstrated his talents for conducting research and scientific writing. Thom’s final report was of a high quality and was written in a very professional and scientific way. In addition he showed to have an eye for unexpected results and he derived relevant hypotheses and conclusions from these. Thom’s description of the chemical properties of molecules was of a very high level and his recommendations for further research were excellent. Furthermore, Thom has also made great efforts as a student member of the Curriculum Committee and he has been involved as a teaching assistant in various courses (including courses in organic chemistry, thermodynamics, and molecular modeling). In 2021 Thom received a Young Talent Award of the Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities (KHMW).

In conclusion, the jury is confident that also this year the Karlijn Keijzer Scriptieprijs has been awarded to an excellent and highly motivated student. The prize will be presented to Thom by Jacqueline Keijzer, mother of Karlijn Keijzer. The ceremony will take place on Thursday 27 June from 16.30 h at Vrije Universiteit in the auditorium of the O|2 building, following the poster market and competition for BSc students in Pharmaceutical Sciences.

About the Karlijn Keijzer Scriptieprijs

The Karlijn Keijzer Scriptieprijs is established in memory of Karlijn Keijzer, who was aboard the fatal MH17 flight in 2014. Karlijn finished her MSc studies in Drug Discovery and Safety (DDS) at the Vrije Universiteit cum laude in 2012, with a specialization in Computational Medicinal Chemistry and Toxicology. For her PhD studies, Karlijn joined the Computational Chemistry group of professor Baik at Indiana University in Bloomington to study amongst other organometallic complexes of therapeutic interest. In September 2014 she was posthumously awarded her doctoral degree. During her PhD studies Karlijn regularly visited the VU. Early 2014 she obtained an Aspasia research grant to stay with the Biocomputational Chemistry group in the Division of Theoretical Chemistry.

In line with Karlijn’s intellectual legacy and interests, and to stimulate talented and ambitious students in their scientific development and (international) experience, the Karlijn Keijzer Scriptieprijs is presented annually as a travel grant of 1000 Euros. The award recipient is selected by a jury based on the academic excellence and motivation of candidates who successfully completed a BSc research project in the field of pharmaceutical sciences or (bio)chemistry. Resources for the award have been made available by the family, supplemented by the VU Department of Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences.