Thank You For Joining The Brightlands Dr. Jan Huynen Award 2015

march 21, 2016

The Dr. Jan Huynen Award was presented on 14 March 2016 to the writer of the best dissertation in biomedical and life sciences. The main criterion for merit is its potential for value creation.

Brightlands has invited more than five hundred PhD candidates studying in the Meuse-Rhine Euroregion to submit their theses for review. The winning paper and four “honorable mentions” were presented at the awards ceremony at the MECC Conference Center in Maastricht. The program featured inspiring speakers and a meet-and-greet lunch for leaders in the academic and business worlds in the Meuse-Rhine Euroregion.

The winner is Marlies Gijs, who wrote her dissertation at the University of Liège. Its title, “Preclinical Development of 68Ga-labelled Aptamers for Molecular Cancer Imaging” describes a new method to assess the HER2 protein status of invasive breast tumors. Dr. Gijs’ work focuses on a new diagnostic test that can be less expensive and more sensitive than current methods. HER2 tests are needed to select the most effective therapy and to make a reliable prognosis.

Dr. Gijs and her team has discovered novel aptamers for the HER2 and developed a procedure for easy and reliable radiolabeling.

Additional experiments have demonstrated that the novel HER2 aptamers can also reduce cancer cell growth. Based on this therapeutic effect a patent was filed and pharmaceutical companies intend to start pre-clinical trials later this year.

Meet our winner Marlies Gijs (Université de Liège) and our honorable mentions Jim Odekerken (Maastricht University)Kris Janssens (UHasselt)Hugo Fokkenrood (Maastricht University) and Yujing Wang (Maastricht University) by checking out their explanatory videos concerning their PhD thesis.

During the mini-symposium keynote speaker Christian Tidona (Managing Director BioRN Network, Heidelberg) discussed innovation at the interface between academia and industry, emphasizing the necessity of creating critical mass. Medical illustrator Rogier Trompert addressed the importance of scientific illustration, from 15th century until today.

About 150 people attended the award ceremony.

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