If you have read all the stories, you probably know who was responsable for the specially brewed Mercabeer. Now meet Frank Haasjes. Senior Research Chemist in the Medicinal Chemistry department, but also member of the “borrelcommissie” and therefore one of the organizers of the 20th Anniversary celebration weekend.
How long have you been at Mercachem?
For four years now. I started working for Mercachem in June 2013 after I finished my internship at DSM Innovative Synthesis (now: InnoSyn). I still had to write my literature thesis at that time, so I graduated from the Radboud University of Nijmegen a couple of months later.
What is your function?
Currently, I am working as Senior Research Chemist in the Medicinal Chemistry department.
Could you describe your typical day at Mercachem?
Most of the time I work as a bench chemist, which means preparing the molecules needed to push the project further. However, apart from the lab work, literature research and discussing the progress of the project are also part of my daily routine. Also, I am member of the “Borrelcommissie” of Mercachem.
Do you have other tasks, apart from your work on projects in the Medicinal Chemistry department?
For the last 18 months, I have worked on a macrocycle project. Since we had little expertise on this topic in house, I decided to collect all relevant literature and wrote a review that highlighted the latest trends on designing molecules beyond the Rule of Five. This review is updated regularly when new articles are published. Furthermore, I presented part of this literature work at company meetings.
When was the last time you visited a client or attended a conference?
Last month, I attended the 19th RSC/SCI Medicinal Chemistry Symposium in Cambridge, which was the second time that I attended a symposium for Mercachem.
The first time was in May 2016, when I visited the DMCCB Symposium in Basel, which was focused on macrocycles in drug and agrochemical discovery.
Can you share your experiences when visiting conferences?
For two years medicinal chemistry has been my interest and this symposium was a nice opportunity to get an insight into how medicinal chemistry projects develop and which considerations are made. Furthermore, I attended a medicinal chemistry workshop and presented a poster on our CDK8 inhibitor project during this symposium. Moreover, it is just fun to meet new people, listen to their stories, and have a chat.
Apart from your scientific career at Mercachem, do you have other duties within the company?
At Mercachem, most of the employees have a small duty besides their daily job. This duty changes from time to time, so far I have been responsible for the maintenance of autoclaves, diaphragm pumps, and the large flash chromatography system.
Since November 2016, I have been a member of the “Borrelcommissie”, which is an association that tries to organize social activities away from work. This means we organize drinks every six weeks on Fridays and an annual BBQ, but also excursions like bowling, tastings, and karting. This is how we create what we refer to as chemical bonding. We also organized our 20th anniversary celebration weekend.
Why do you consider this to be an important task?
The events organized by the Borrelcommissie give you the opportunity to meet and catch up with all colleagues. Moreover, I consider it important that there is room for leisure and fun besides work.
How did you experience the 20 year Mercachem Anniversary celebration weekend?
The preparations for the weekend started a year ago for me. We approached some organizations that could help us to create an unforgettable weekend. During the year, many ideas, locations, and programs were discussed and rejected. In the end, we managed to compose a nice program; the hardest part was to keep it a surprise for my colleagues.
Moreover, it was good to see the high attendance and the way everyone enjoyed the day. Did you see the photo’s? For me, the day was really enjoyable and I have the impression we managed to create another unforgettable Mercachem memory.