Hendrik Timmerman

Professor Henk Timmerman (1937) obtained a M.Sc. in Chemistry at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam in 1964, and then started his Ph.D. studies under the supervision of Prof. Dr. W. Th. Nauta in the department of Pharmacochemistry. It is clear from the title of his Ph.D. thesis “2-alkyl-1-orthoalkylphenyl cyclohexanols: synthesis and pharmacological investigations”, the department of Pharmacochemistry was already focused on organic synthesis, but also on the molecular mechanisms behind the potential biological activities of the prepared compounds. After his Ph.D. in 1967, Henk Timmerman joined Gist-Brocades (now part of Yamanouchi) and became head of Pharmacology and then from 1972-1979 their scientific director. In 1979, Henk Timmerman returned to academia and took over the department of Pharmacochemistry from his previous supervisor Prof. dr. Nauta. He held his position of professor in Pharmacochemistry until 2002 and is now, as emeritus professor, appointed as consultant for the department. During his academic career of almost 25 years, most of his research was in the area of histamine receptors and their ligands. It should be noted that in 2006, his 375 research papers (most of them in the area of histamine) still obtained 450 citations, indicating the impact of his work in this field. Henk Timmerman is regarded as one the leading medicinal chemists of his time in the histamine research area. His work resulted in many new pharmacological tools (amthamine, imetit, clobenpropit, immepip, immethridine, methimmepip), which were easily shared with the pharmacological community and allowed him to develop an extensive network of valuable scientific friends. At the same time, Henk Timmerman was also very interested in the molecular mechanisms of actions of the developed molecules. This is also well reflected in his publication record. One of his most cited papers details the inverse agonistic properties of histamine H2 receptor antagonists, which has been an important contribution to our present understanding of receptor antagonist action. Among many official representations, Henk Timmerman was member of the IUPHAR committee on histamine receptors, took the initiative to organize the first IUPHAR satellite meeting ‘New Perspective in Histamine Research’ in Noorwijkerhout in 1990 and hosted the 32nd annual meeting of the European Histamine Research Society in Amsterdam in 2003. Besides a scientist with impact, he is also a great mentor for numerous Ph.D. and master students. At this moment three of his former students have been appointed as professor and many of his Ph.D. students are currently employed in international pharmaceutical industry.