I am trained as an organic chemist and have dedicated most of my research on developing methodologies to chemically prepare post-translational modified peptides and proteins. Using chemistry to make such often delicate structures is an exciting challenge, that opens the opportunity to make mutations, incorporate non-natural amino acids or attach fluorophores or reactive elements. Having full control over each amino acid position allows the design of activity based probes based on ubiquitin or ubiquitin-like proteins and the use of chemical biology techniques to interrogate the complex ubiquitin proteasome system. Currently I am working on the preparation of poly-ubiquitin chains, novel activity based probes against ubiquitin proteases and ligases and the recently discovered interplay between ADPribosylation and ubiquitin conjugation found to be crucial in Legionella infections causing Legionnaires disease.
I completed my PhD in organic chemistry at Leiden University studying synthetic methods to obtain naturally occurring hybrid biomolecules consisting of a nucleic acid and a peptide part, such as viral nucleoproteins and the post-translational modification called Adenosine Di-Phosphate ribosylation (ADPr). I then moved to the Humboldt University in Berlin as a Rubicon Postdoctoral fellow investigating the use of PNA-probes to overcome target inhibition in nucleic acid templated reactions. In 2014 I joined the Ovaa group as NWO-VENI laureate working on the design of novel tools to specifically target distinct poly-Ubiquitin topologies using a chemical biology approach. In 2018 I obtained a NWO Vidi grant and a ZonMW Off-road grant to study the crosstalk between ubiquitination and ADPribosylation involved in bacterial infection and certain cancer types.
VIDI (2018) - NWO
Off-Road (2018) - ZonMW
VENI (2014) - NWO
Rubicon (2012) - NWO
• One-step Chemical Synthesis of Native Met1-linked poly-Ubiquitin Chains.
van der Heden van Noort, G. J.ǂ; Talavera Ormeno, C.; van Dalen, D.; Ovaa, H.;
ChemBioChem. 2018. doi: 10.1002/cbic.201800520.
• A General Approach Towards Triazole-linked Adenosine Diphosphate Ribosylated Peptides and Proteins.
Liu,Q.; Kistemaker, H. A. V.; Bhogaraju, S.; Dikic, I, Overkleeft, H. S.; van der Marel, G. A.; Ovaa, H.; van der Heden van Noort, G. J.ǂ; Filippov, D. V.ǂ;
Angew.Chem. Int. Ed., 2018, 57, 1659-1662.
• Generation of the UFM1 toolkit for profiling UFM1-specific proteases and ligases.
Witting, K.*; van der Heden van Noort, G. J*.; Kofoed C; Talavera Ormeno C.; El Atmioui D.; Mulder MPC.; Ovaa H.;
Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2018. doi: 10.1002/anie.201809232.