Profile of Tom Wennekes

Tom (Middelburg, 1979) started his adventure in chemistry in 1997 at the Hogeschool in Eindhoven. Subsequently he studied chemistry at Leiden University where in 2008 he also obtained his PhD degree in the Bio-organic synthesis group of Prof. dr. Hermen Overkleeft and Prof. dr. Gijs van der Marel. Here he worked on the design and synthesis of lipophilic iminosugars as inhibitors of glycoprocessing enzymes in close cooperation with the group of Prof. dr. Hans Aerts at the Amsterdam Medical Centre. He was awarded the 2007-2008 KNCV Pharmacochemistry prize for best medicinal chemistry PhD thesis in the Netherlands. In the same year he received a NWO Rubicon scholarship and became a post-doctoral fellow in the group of Prof. dr. Steve Withers at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. Here he conducted research on the development of mechanism-based inhibitors for the neuraminidase enzyme of the human influenza A ‘flu’ virus. In November 2010, Tom returned to the Netherlands to join the Laboratory of Organic Chemistry at Wageningen University as an assistant professor in Synthetic Organic Chemistry & Chemical Biology. He was recently awarded a VENI grant from NWO (2011) to start a research program exploring the synthesis and glycobiology of unique sialic acid-based carbohydrates that occur on human-gut associated microbes.

Besides science, Tom also enjoys listening to a wide variety of music ranging from the Beatles to Opeth and reading books ranging from the classic science fiction authors to the works of Charles Bukowski.

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