Meet The Team
Wim Velema, PhD, PharmD
Wim graduated from the University of Groningen in 2010 after working with Sabeth Verpoorte and Luke Lee at UC Berkeley. He continued his studies in the lab of Ben Feringa where he obtained his PhD with honors in 2014. He was an EMBO- and Rubicon Postdoctoral Fellow in the laboratory of Eric Kool at Stanford University from 2015-2019. Starting in 2020 he was appointed as assistant professor at Radboud University in Nijmegen. His current research focuses on developing chemical biology tools to understand bacterial drug resistance and is supported by an ERC Starting Grant and NWO VIDI. He serves on the Editorial Advisory Board of ACS Infectious Diseases.
Mathijs Pals, MSc, PharmD
Mathijs is a PhD candidate in the Velemalab. He finished his master’s degree in Pharmacy at the University of Groningen in 2019. During his studies he performed a research internship in the department of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Biology in the group of Prof. Frank Dekker. The focus of this research was the development of sensor molecules that enable activity-based and selective detection of specific enzymes, which are potential targets for new drugs. In 2020 he joined the VelemaLab in Nijmegen as a PhD-candidate. His current research focuses on elucidating the underlying mechanisms that enable bacteria to rapidly acquire resistance to antibiotics.
Stefan Crielaard, MSc
Stefan is a PhD candidate in the Velemalab. He obtained his bachelors in Chemistry at Utrecht University. He continued his studies at Leiden University where he specialized in Chemical Biology and obtained his Masters in Chemistry at 2019. He worked as a Research Associate in the Supramolecular Chemistry group of Prof. Alexander Kros at Leiden University before starting his PhD research. He is interested in unravelling biochemical mechanisms behind biological phenomena using chemical biology. His current research focuses on identifying new drug targets in bacteria that can be exploited to develop antibiotic strategies.
Daphne van den Homberg, MSc
Daphne is a PhD candidate in the Velema lab. She obtained her Bachelors and Masters in Biomedical Sciences at the Leiden University Medical Center. During her studies she focused her research on the effect of non-coding RNA in the group of Prof. Dr. Paul Quax and Prof. Dr. Johann Woijta at the Department of Vascular Surgery at the LUMC and the Department of Internal Medicine II at the Medical University of Vienna, respectively. Before joining the Velema Lab in 2022, she worked as a student research assistant in the Quax group where she published two papers as shared first author. Her current research focusses on prokaryotic riboswitches and error-prone DNA polymerases in the fight against antibiotic resistance.
Phillip Yesley, MSc
Phillip is a PhD candidate in the Velemalab. He finished his master’s degree in Chemistry at the University of Groningen in 2021. During his studies he performed a research internship at the department of molecular genetics in the group of Prof. Danny Incarnato. The focus of this research was the development of transcriptome-wide high-throughput screens to detect RNA-ligand interactions. In 2022 he joined the VelemaLab in Nijmegen as a PhD-candidate. His current research focuses on investigating prokaryotic riboswitches in hopes of developing new antibiotics.
Harshitha Ramu, MSc
Harshitha is a PhD candidate in the Velema lab. She obtained her Bachelors in Biotechnology from Manipal Academy of Higher Education, India. She received a Masters in Molecular Mechanisms of Disease from Radboud University. She interned at the Jack Schalken lab in Department of Experimental Urology where she focused on unravelling the function of a long non-coding RNA involved in prostate carcinogenesis. She also performed another internship as an Erasmus+ exchange student at the Padilla-Parra lab in the Department of Infectious Diseases at King’s College London where she worked towards understanding the role of membrane lipids in regulating HIV-1 fusion. In 2022, she joined the Velema Lab in Nijmegen as a PhD candidate. Her project focuses on the development of novel antibiotics to circumvent the problem of antibiotic resistance.
Georgia Poulladofonou, MSc
Georgia obtained her Bachelors in Chemistry from the University of Athens, Greece in 2020. She continued her studies at Radboud University in Nijmegen following the Master specialization of Molecular Chemistry. After a research internship in the group of Dr. Kevin Neumann she joined the Velema lab for her Master’s internship focusing on the synthesis of fluorogenic probes. Since 2023, Georgia continued her research as a PhD student.
Jiaming is a Bachelor student in the Velemalab who is majoring in Life Sciences at HAN University of Applied Sciences. His internship research project focuses on the optimization of in vitro and in vivo assays that are used to assess the potential antibacterial compounds.
Luuk Wijnberg, BSc
Luuk obtained his Bachelors at the HAN University of Applied Sciences, with a major in Organic Chemistry. During his Bachelor internships he focused on the synthesis of a size-expanded DNA probe at the Velemalab, and the microencapsulation of active ingredients at Tanatex Chemicals. After completing the pre-master’s program he now pursues a Master degree in Medicinal Chemistry. His second internship at the Velemalab focuses on developing next-generation antibiotics.
Casper Peters, BSc
Casper obtained his Bachelors in Molecular Life Sciences at the Wageningen University & Research where he studied the CRISPR Cas9 kinetics in E.coli in the Hohlbein lab. He is currently pursuing the master Medicinal Chemistry at the Radboud University, where he is doing his first internship at the Velema Lab focusing on synthesizing photoaffinity probes and peforming an In silico docking study.
Thom is an Bachelor student currently performing his final internship to finalize his HBO degree in Biology and Medical Laboratory Research at Avans Hogeschool in Breda. His project focusses on developing an activatable RNA : RNA interactome tool using prokaryotic riboswitches.
Tim van den Braak
Tim is a Bachelor student at Avans University of Applied Science where he is majoring in Food & Pharma. During his first internship at Boltje Research Group he worked on N-iodosuccinimide activated nucleophile addition reactions on cis-cyclooctenes for click-to-release applications on trans-cyclooctenes. His second internship at Velema Lab focusses on the synthesis of probes for the analysis of mutagenesis caused by cell stress.
Aurelia Dekens, BSc
Aurelia obtained her Bachelor’s in Chemistry at the University of Groningen, where she focused on the synthesis of chemical probes to study proteins in the group of Prof. Dr. Martin Witte. In September 2023, she started her Master’s in Medicinal Chemistry at the Radboud University. She is doing her first internship at the Velema Lab, where she is working on the synthesis of photoaffinity probes to study the FMN riboswitch.
Tamara Spijker, BSc
Tamara obtained her Bachelor's in Molecular Life Sciences at Radboud University in Nijmegen. She interned at the Büll lab to research glycosylation profiles to counteract mucin breakdown by E. coli. She is currently pursuing a master's in Medicinal Biology at Radboud University. Her first master's internship is at the Velema Lab where she investigates riboswitches to design new antibiotics.