Karlijn Keijzer Scriptieprijs awarded to Ferry Pronk

At 1 February, the third Karlijn Keijzer Scriptieprijs will be presented to Ferry Pronk, MSc student in Drug Discovery and Safety (DDS) at Vrije Universiteit, by Jacqueline Keijzer, mother of Karlijn Keijzer.

01/24/2018 | 9:40 AM

Ferry_PronkFerry is currently specializing in the MSc track Computational Medicinal Chemistry and Toxicology. Last year he finished his BSc studies in Pharmaceutical Sciences cum laude and with honours, during which he performed two BSc research projects. During his first research project (in Computational Medicinal Chemistry) he successfully combined cheminformatics, protein-structure based modelling, and computer-aided drug design to obtain novel insights into the mode of action of G-protein coupled (histamine) receptors with high relevance to contemporary drug development. In his second research project (in Theoretical Biochemistry) Ferry quantum mechanically studied a new anti-cancer drug to show that its molecular structure may well contribute to its mode of action (i.e., enzyme inhibition). This unexpected result will be included in a scientific manuscript with possible implication for future development of drugs targeting the same enzyme.

During his BSc research projects Ferry did not only demonstrate his scientific qualities but also his skills in communicating and discussing results with scientists from different fields. His excellence in presenting results to a diverse audience resulted e.g.in poster prizes during last year’s poster competition for BSc students in Pharmaceutical Sciences, and at the national PAC symposium for chemistry students. In addition he wrote high-quality BSc theses and he stood out in extra-curricular activities such as his membership of the BSc and MSc Curriculum Committee (OLC) of Pharmaceutical Sciences and DDS, and student-assistantships in computer and thermodynamics practicals. For these reasons the jury is convinced that the Karlijn Keijzer Scriptieprijs has been awarded again to an excellent and highly motivated student. Ferry intends to use the prize to finance a one-year stay at University of Copenhagen as part of his Double Degree MSc program.

Karlijn Keijzer Scriptieprijs

Karlijn KeijzerThe Karlijn Keijzer Scriptieprijs is established in memory of Karlijn Keijzer, who was aboard the fatal MH17 flight. Karlijn finished her MSc studies in DDS cum laude in 2012, with a specialization in Computational Medicinal Chemistry and Toxicology. For her PhD studies she 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. As a PhD student Karlijn regularly visited Vrije Universiteit. In 2014 she obtained an Aspasia grant to stay with the Biocomputational Chemistry research 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 EUR 1000. The award recipient will be selected by a jury based on excellence and motivation, and candidates must have successfully completed a BSc research project in the field of pharmaceutical sciences or (bio)chemistry. Supplemented by the VU Department of Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences, resources for the award have been made available by the family from a donation fund for Karlijn.


The presentation of the Karlijn Keijzer Scriptieprijs to Ferry Pronk will take place at Thursday 1 February 2018 in the Auditorium of the O|2 Lab Building, from 16.30-17.30 h, following the BSc Pharmaceutical Sciences poster market and competition.