Pivot Park Screening Centre is expanding

8 Jun 2017 News Juul Zwinkels

Pivot Park Screening Centre is not only accelerating drug discoveries but is also accelerating as an organisation. The team of experts in assay development, high throughput screening and triaging has expanded with five new employees. Are you interested in what their experiences have been so far and what their expectations for the future are? ‘Meet’ Judith, Saman, Marieke, Johan and Maarten.

Judith Rasmussen-Dietvorst has been assigned as the Screening Centre’s team leader assay development. What were your activities since you’ve started working for Pivot Park Screening Centre? In the 3 months I have been working at PPSC, I have been enjoying to get to know my new colleagues and get familiar with the many different assays and projects my team of assay developers is working on. Next to that I made a head start by joining a new, very interesting  project for a commercial client focusing on assay development and screening.  What are your expectations for the upcoming months? Contribute to the development and implementation of many more assays valuable for the growth of PPSC.

Saman Honarnejad is appointed as scientist. Saman, your LinkedIn profile is stating you’re having a passion for R&D in preclinical drug discovery. Looks you’re in the right place! Indeed. It’s a pleasure to work with R&D experts in an environment with such an impressive historical significance in pharmaceutical development. The people and the state-of-the-art equipment in Pivot Park are catalysts for discovery and development of future medicines. You have a very international oriented career path (Max Planck institute and Harvard Medical School a.o.) what made you chose working for Pivot Park Screening Centre in the Netherlands? In academia, many novel therapeutically significant findings don’t make it to drug development pipelines and despite all the R&D expenditure, pharmaceutical industry has been struggling in developing new effective and safe drugs. PPSC and Pivot Park are addressing this gap with an open innovation model and the idea of doing collaborative research in an industrial setting was the major reason for me to come to work for PPSC in the Netherlands.

Marieke Arts is one of the 10 assay developers working at PPSC. You’ve started working in a team with many years of experience on assay development, high throughput screening and triaging. What are your experiences until know? The team is highly experienced and professional. They are all willing to help. There are several meeting moments to discuss results and ask questions about your projects. What has been the reason for you to start working at Pivot Park Screening Centre? When I was looking for a new job I talked with Helma Rutjes (COO) about a function as assay developer at PPSC. I knew Helma already from my previous job at Hycult Biotech.  At first sight it was difficult for me to get a good idea about the daily activities at PPSC since I have no experience with uHTS. After visiting the site, talks with colleagues and a tour I decided to accept the job. This job offers a lot of new challenges and personal development. I learn new techniques and with many responsibilities the job is interesting and challenging.

Johan Friesen started June 1st and is also a member of the assay development team.
You have almost 20 years of experience in AUTOMATION, can you tell us a little about your career history? I started as a temp worker from 1998 to 2000 at the section of High Throughput Screening (HTS) Organon. Here I have gained experience with a diversity of HTS- equipment. From 2000 until 2011 I went to the Department of MCO-ACL section ROCC (Compound Logistics) Organon, MSD, where I have started lab-automation projects, like automated compound preparation and weighing. From 2011 to 2017 I worked at DCO Regulated Bio-Analysis (Merck/Quintiles/Q2Solutions). Here I have setup a robotic system for sample preparation of human plasma and whole blood. What are you specifically looking forward to work on at the Pivot Park Screening Centre? I am looking forward to working at PPSC, to learn new techniques, expand my experiences in automation and meet new colleagues.

Maarten Eldering has also joined the assay development team. Maarten, you’ve started working for a company in the field of drug discovery, could you tell what’s the most attractive factor for you in this field? I’ve always been interested in (infectious) disease research and the development of laboratory assays. I really like that the current position gives me the opportunity to contribute to the development of new therapies for diseases by optimizing innovative assays and screening novel compounds. Can you tell a little bit about your back-ground? I originally come from the Leiden region and moved to Nijmegen to start a PhD course at the department of Malaria research at the RadboudUMC in 2009. After that I worked for 2 years at TropIQ Health Sciences, again Malaria research. I currently live in Megen with my wife Janneke and two daughters, Juul (2 years) and Kaat (9 months).

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