On 22 March 2019, during the symposium of the Division Medicinal Chemistry of the KNCV, Dr. Marc Baggelaar was awarded the Dutch Medicinal Chemistry Prize 2017-2018 for his dissertation entitled Activity-based protein profiling of diacylglycerol lipases. The prize - consisting of a certificate, a small sculpture, and a EUR 1,000 cash prize made available by MercachemSyncom - is awarded for the best dissertation in the field of medicinal chemistry research published between 1 January 2017 and 31 December 2018. In April 2017 Dr. Baggelaar obtained his PhD cum laude under the supervision of Prof. dr. Mario van der Stelt and Prof. Dr. Hermen Overkleeft at the Leiden University. Part of the research was conducted in the top-notch research group of Prof. Dr. Benjamin Cravatt at the Scripps research institute in La Jolla (USA).
The panel of judges consisted of Prof. Dr. Christa Müller (University of Bonn), Prof. Dr. Marcel Hilbert (Laboratoire d’Innovation Thérapeutique), Dr. Laura Heitman (Universiteit Leiden) and Dr. Hans Meissner (MercachemSyncom). After stringent rules for selection by principal investigators four dissertations were submitted for consideration by the judges.
Dr. Baggelaar’s thesis describes the identification, development and application of novel chemical tools and methodologies to study the function of diacylglycerol lipases in the endocannabinoid system. His research has resulted in in nineteen publications, including five where he is first author. Noteworthy are the publications in Nature Communications, ACS Chemical Biology, J. Am. Chem. Soc. and Angewandte Chemie. The work of Dr. Baggelaar is very multidisciplinary, original and groundbreaking. It ranges from synthetic organic chemistry, structural biology, biochemical evaluation, and cellular assays, which he mostly performed himself. Moreover, the research resulted in ex vivo and in vivo experiments, where his probes were used to understand the complex biology. In his thesis he demonstrated a skillful writing style, with an extensive and educational introduction and pleasant lay-out through-out.
Marc Baggelaar presented his work during the symposium ‘Postgenomic Strategies in Drug Discovery’ (ca. 115 attendees). Currently he is doing postdoctoral research as a Marie Curie fellow in the group of Prof. Dr. Ed Tate at Imperial College London.