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Student Placement Award

14 October 2014

Congratulations to Prema Ghasemi who has won Student Placement of the Year Award for her time spent at GlaxoSmithKline.

This award recognises the significant contributions students make to their host organisation, with placement supervisors nominating students who they feel had been exceptional on placement, going beyond the call of duty or making a significant impact to the success of the business. Prema, who has now returned to Leeds to complete her MedChem degree, said that she was honored to have represented the School of Chemistry in this competition.

The photograph was taken at the Placement Year Celebration Event where Prema received her award. The presenter said on the evening that ‘the judges felt the winner demonstrated outstanding development of both technical and personal skills during the placement. Their supervisor commented that “in 24 years of supervision, I cannot remember a student who has developed further, both in practical synthetic skills and wider contribution to her team and beyond…. her attention to detail and scientific rigour was exemplary”. During the placement this student identified several issues around duplication and inefficiency. They suggested, created, communicated and sought feedback on possible ways to improve processes and then implemented these. These changes resulted in cost savings in terms of both time and resources, highlighting that placement students can make significant changes in global organisations too’.

Breakthrough allows researchers to watch molecules “wiggle”

13 October 2014

A new crystallographic technique developed at the University of Leeds is set to transform scientists’ ability to observe how molecules work.

A research paper, published in the journal Nature Methods, describes a new way of doing time-resolved crystallography, a method that researchers use to observe changes within the structure of molecules. Although fast time-resolved crystallography (Laue crystallography) has previously been possible, it has required advanced instrumentation that is only available at three sites worldwide. Only a handful of proteins have been studied using the traditional technique.

The new method will allow researchers across the world to carry out dynamic crystallography and is likely to provide a major boost in areas of research that rely on understanding how molecules work, such as the development of novel smart materials or new drugs.

Co-author Professor Godfrey Beddard, Emeritus Professor of Chemical Physics at the University of Leeds, said: “We demonstrate this method for crystallography, but it will work for any time-resolved experiment where the probe can be encoded. This new method means that, instead of having to go to one of the three instruments in the world that can currently do time-resolved crystallography, you can go to any beamline at any synchrotron—basically it massively opens the field for these kind of experiments.”

See the full press release here

Quiz winners

25 September 2014

Our new undergraduate students explored the campus as part of their induction.

Some 180 new students met their peer assisted learning mentors and set off to complete a quiz exploring the University campus. Henry's Crew were the winners!

The event finished at the Terrace with drinks and nibbles.

Front cover

23 September 2014

Research from the Nelson and Warriner groups is featured on the front cover of the October issue of Nature Chemistry.

The paper describes a novel approach to the discovery of biologically-active compounds which is inspired by the emergence of natural products.  The research was performed by George Karageorgis, a PhD student working with Adam Nelson and Stuart Warriner in the School of Chemistry and the Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology.

The paper is featured heavily in the issue: in the editorial, a News & Views article, and an interview with Adam Nelson and Stuart Warriner.  It is also featured in a themed web focus issue of Nature Chemistry  that focuses on nature-inspired approaches to bioactive molecule discovery.

The October issue of Nature Chemistry can be found here.

Leading the way in chemistry education

17 September 2014

From changing the fundamental approach to teaching undergraduate organic chemistry in the 1940’s to leading the way in business education for chemists today, the School of Chemistry has been at the forefront of chemistry education for over 70 years.

Following in the footsteps of C.K.Ingold, who introduced the idea of teaching organic chemistry through an understanding of structure and mechanism rather than the rote learning of reactions, the School of Chemistry, in response to the Royal Society of Chemistry’s call for proposals to develop business skills resources for chemists in higher education, has created a second year module called ‘Chemistry: Idea to Market’.

The course is designed to lead students through the various stages of taking a new product from concept to market, with the emphasis on developing new products within a larger company. Business topics are explored in context, using case studies that give students the freedom to develop areas that interest them. Such problem-based case studies are effective learning tools, and the nature of the topic lends itself to this teaching method. Similarly, moving away from a lecture-based approach to facilitated workshops is a more successful way of developing transferable skills and other attributes employers desire.

Find out more about this innovative module and how it is benefiting our student’s employability prospects and understanding of working in industry.

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