Pieter Burger, PhD
As a Biochemist /Bioinformatisist I am naturally interested in computers, biology and chemistry. The field of computer aided drug discovery has provided me with the means to live out these life passions. I received my PhD in Bioinformatics from the University of Pretoria in 2008 entitled “Development of a dynamic receptor-based pharmacophore model of Plasmodium falciparum spermidine synthase for selective inhibitor identification.” After the completion of my PhD, I joined the Emory Institute of Drug Development Liotta/Snyder laboratory for a two year postdoctoral fellowship in the field of drug discovery at Emory University. During my postdoctoral studies I developed a thorough understanding and appreciation for the drug discovery and development process. The program allowed for personal development tailored to my goals as a young scientist in a stimulating and highly professional environment. On my return to South Africa the program enabled me to facilitate in capacity building and to secure a research fellowship at University of Pretoria.
Joining the Emory Institute of Drug Development Liotta/Snyder laboratory has been an enriching experience on both a personal and scientific level. This laboratory is truly a world-renowned medicinal chemistry research group with years of experience and numerous expertise areas. Since joining the drug discovery program at Emory I have been exposed to the various aspects of the drug discovery process and have had the opportunity to work in a cross-disciplinary environment. The Emory drug discovery program is a well-organized program lending postdoctoral students from different backgrounds the opportunity to gain valuable experience and further their careers in the drug discovery field.
The organizers and students in the research group were very helpful in making the transition from South Africa to the United States of America a pleasant experience. The people I have worked with have changed from being working colleagues to good friends living up to the warm hearted reputation of the south.