Dr Kim Bonger

Assistant Professor, Institute for Molecules and Materials, Faculty of Science.

Kim Bonger website

Dr Kim Bonger studied organic chemistry at the University of Applied Sciences Leiden and graduated from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in 2002. After roughly a year of research experience at the University College Stavanger in Norway, she began her PhD research in organic chemistry at Leiden University in 2004, where she received her PhD in 2008. During her PhD research, she developed and synthesised new, better ligands for G protein-coupled receptors. This is a biologically important group of receptors, since they play a role in a large number of signal transduction processes: the transmission of signals in a cell. Poorly functioning G receptors play a significant role in many diseases. Her work contributed to a new concept in the development of medication for the reduction of undesired pharmacological side effects and provided new mechanistic insights into the organisation of receptors in cell membranes. Her dissertation was awarded the “Dutch Society of Pharmaceutical Sciences Best Thesis Prize”.

With her multidisciplinary research, Dr Kim Bonger makes wonderful connections between organic chemistry and organic biology. She is unique in her development of new chemical and biological concepts and instruments for medication and in her understanding of disease mechanisms. She has received two prestigious fellowships, including a Rubicon, which she used for a three-year stay at the prestigious Stanford University in the United States. There, she developed new methods for unfolding proteins in living cells and animals by using small ligand molecules and blue light. This resulted in scientific articles in top journals.

She provides and develops education at Radboud University and the Radboud university medical center, as well as outside of Radboud such as in the collective Honours Programme of the universities in Leiden, Groningen, Eindhoven, and Nijmegen at the Netherlands Research School of Chemical Biology. She also encourages her students to look at other disciplines with an open mind and this has led to various prizes for their posters at conferences. Her students report that she is a very enthusiastic, accessible, and dedicated professor.

The jury commends Dr Kim Bonger because of her active participation in many different collaborations. She has a large international network and is a member of the Radboud Nanomedicine Alliance, a collaboration of physicians, scientists, and industrial partners for developing new and revolutionary therapies with nanotechnology. She is also socially involved as a co-organiser for several Dutch symposia in her field and she is a member of various committees within the Faculty of Science, such as the Representative Council. In addition, she is the supervisor of the Radboud University Honours Programme and is active in providing information about the degree programmes during open days and Student for a Day events.

The other three nominees in the Natural Sciences Category were: Dr Lisa Glaser, Dr Marloes Henckens, Dr Rosalie van Zelm, Dr Nadine Hauptmann, Dr Francesca Arici, Dr Reiko Toriumi, and Dr Nelleke Spruijt.