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Transforming drug discovery

The School of Chemistry is leading a £3.4M programme that will facilitate the discovery of new drugs against protein-protein interactions.

Currently, only a handful of drugs in clinical use work by targeting protein-protein interactions.

There are thought to be as many as 600,000 protein-protein interactions that could be targets for new drugs but we don’t know which ones are most important, what is crucial for their interaction and how to target them.

This new project, which will launch on 1 February, 2016, will involve researchers from the University of Leeds, the University of Bristol and three drug discovery organisations: the Northern Institute for Cancer Research, Newcastle University; AstraZeneca; and Domainex.

The project is led by Professor Andy Wilson, and will also involve Professor Adam Nelson from the School of Chemistry.

See the full news story.




To the stars with Principia

British astronaut, Tim Peake, blasts off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan today, Tuesday 15th December, on his Principia Mission to the international space station (ISS).

In his scheduled 6-months on the ISS, Tim will be engaged in various outreach activities supported by the UK Space Agency (UKSA). In addition to their own activities, the UKSA has funded nine community-based organizations to help support the outreach potential from the Principia Mission, including the Astrobiology Society of Britain, whose current president is Dr Terry Kee of the School of Chemistry.

You can find out more about what Terry and the ASB plan to do through their STARS (Space TARgets Science) Project




Science as Art

A picture submitted to the Science as Art competition at the Materials Research Society 2015 Fall Meeting in Boston, entitled “Mesacrystal”, won 1st place.

The image, created by David Green, is a false coloured scanning electron micrograph of a modified calcite single crystal, stylised to resemble intricate mesas and outcrops at dusk.

This image was exhibited as part of the annual Meldrum Group art gallery hosted by the North Bar, Leeds, between November 2014 and January 2015. This year’s exhibition is currently on display.




International Fieldwork Intercomparison

Scientists from the Atmospheric and Planetary Chemistry group have participated in a major instrument intercomparison held at the large outdoor SAPHIR chamber in Germany between 5-17 October 2015.

Led by NCAS scientist Dr Lisa Whalley, the instrumentation was operated by PhD students Danny Cryer and Charlotte Brumby from the research groups of Professors Dwayne Heard and Paul Seakins, and supported by Dr Daniel Stone and another NCAS Scientist Dr Trevor Ingham.

Chemical oxidation in the atmosphere removes trace gases emitted by natural and anthropogenic processes, and is initiated primarily by the hydroxyl radical, OH. There are many 1000s of chemical species which react with OH, and hence it is very difficult during field studies to be confident that the majority of the OH sinks are measured. A new technique has emerged over the last decade which via a single measurement, called the OH reactivity, is able to quantify the total rate of removal of OH by reaction with its myriad of sinks.The intercomparison involved 8 separate instruments based on a number of distinct methods from the UK (Leeds), Germany, France, Finland and the USA, which simultaneously sampled from the SAPHIR chamber.

The University of Leeds FAGE OH reactivity instrument is part of the NCAS Atmospheric Measurement Facility (AMF). As well as a number of instrument tests, whereby fixed amounts of individual OH sinks were added to the chamber under a wide range of conditions, the experiments also involved sampling biogenic emissions from the adjacent Jülich plant chamber, and also a mix of typical urban emissions over a wide range of NOx. A large quantity of data was collected, and following a deadline of January 2016 for the submission of data, a workshop will be held in the spring of 2016 to compare and discuss the findings. For further information about the AMF see https://www.ncas.ac.uk/index.php/en/about-amf




Kate's Cakes

A recipe book has just been published in memory of Kate Furneaux, a talented chemist at Leeds who died in 2009 aged 27 following a cycling accident.

Kate had only just received her PhD in Atmospheric Chemistry from Leeds and was poised to start a promising career at a Max Planck Institute in Germany. 

"Kate’s Cakes" is a compilation of 70 simple recipes put together by her friends Rebecca White and Catherine O'Leary-Steele who were also PhD students at the department.  Proceeds from the book will be donated to People & Planet, a national student-led campaigning network which campaigns for global economic, social and environmental justice.  The book, costing £10, is available at www.jeremymills publishing.co.uk.




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