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BP Scholarship Winners!

2 May 2013

The School of Chemistry would like to congratulate students who have been successful in their application for a BP Undergraduate Scholarship.

In their announcement the company states that ‘BP is committed to supporting throughout their education individuals who will be the future talent in our Industry.  Our scholarships recognise, reward and support academic excellence and encourage the potential for future achievement in the workplace.’

There were many very impressive applications but following a short-listing process conducted by Dr. Richard Ansell, Prof. Godfrey Beddard and Dr. Julie Fisher, BP has made awards to Caragh Knight and Zara Mir (Level 1), Callum Griffiths and Joshua Hampton (Level 2), and Helen Blundell and Shani Garraway (Level 3). Well done to all of  them!  

Poster Prize Winner

26 April 2013

James Ross has won the poster prize at a protein engineering conference in Chester.

James, who is doing his PhD with Dr Bruce Turnbull, Dr Mike Webb and Dr Emanuele Paci (Biological Sciences), was awarded the prize for his poster on re-engineering a bacterial toxin subunit to make virus-like particles for drug delivery. His synthetic biology project is very interdisciplinary bringing together computational design, gene synthesis and biophysical methods to study assembly of the protein capsules.

The “Protein engineering: new approaches and applications” poster prize completes a hat-trick for James as he has previously won poster prizes at the Biochemical Society Young Life Scientists' Symposium in Leeds (2011) and at the Wellcome Trust Final Year Symposium in London (2012).  James was also invited to the Royal Society to present his poster at the Biochemical Societys' Centenary Celebration.

James is now coming to the end of his PhD and is due to submit his thesis later this year.

Iceland (again!)

15 April 2013

Two recent papers from Terry Kee & Barry Herschy’s 2011 Vatnajökull glacier expedition have attracted media attention.

RCUK (NERC) flagged up the Mars analogue site geochemistry paper in the Journal of Volcanology & Geothermal Research1 whilst their meteoritic hydrochemistry paper in Geochimica et Cosmochimca Acta2 was the subject of a recent article in New Scientist (making the front page of the 6th April issue).

1.    Cousins CR, Crawford IA, Carrivick JL, Gunn M, Harris J, Kee TP, Karlsson M, Carmody L, Cockell C, Herschy B, Joy KH, Glaciovolcanic hydrothermal environments in Iceland and implications for their detection on Mars, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 2013, doi: 10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2013.02.009

2.    Bryant DE, Greenfield D, Walshaw  RD, Johnson BRG, Herschy B, Smith C, Pasek MA, Telford R, Scowen I, Munshi T, Edwards HGM, Cousins CR, Crawford IA, Kee TP, Hydrothermal modification of the Sikhote-Alin iron meteorite under low pH geothermal environments. A plausibly prebiotic route to activated phosphorus on the early Earth, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, Volume 109, 15 May 2013, Pages 90-112, ISSN 0016-7037, 10.1016/j.gca.2012.12.043. (

See also the University Press Release

Bionic Proteins

5 April 2013

The University has been awarded a 3 year grant from The Leverhulme Trust to develop semi-synthetic protein like objects derived from alpha-helix mimetics.

The project to be pursued by Andy Wilson, Michael Webb (Chemistry) and Darren Tomlinson (School of Molecular and Cellular Biology) will explore a new direction that stems from the Wilson groups’ work on developing helix mimetics as inhibitors of protein-protein interactions (e.g. OBC, 2010, 8, 2344-2351).

This new project will explore to what extent it is possible to reproduce the structural and functional complexity of folded proteins using non-natural building blocks comprised of aromatic oligoamides. More background on the project can be found via the Wilson Group’s website.


Poster Prize Winners

27 March 2013

Daniel Foley and Dr Richard Doveston were recently awarded the poster prize at the RSC-BMCS Fragment-based Drug Discovery meeting, held at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire.

Daniel and Richard work for Profs Adam Nelson and Stephen Marsden. Their poster entitled ‘Realising Lead-Oriented Synthesis’, together with a ‘flash’ two minute presentation provoked some really interesting discussion about the project.

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