Scheme: Wolfson Research Merit Awards
Organisation: University of Durham
Dates: Nov 2010-Jan 2012
Summary: The ability to to engineer new molecules which have predictable properties is a most exciting way of making nature work for mankind. My research spans broad areas of synthetic chemistry with wide-ranging applications: (1) aiding in the discovery of new pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals; (2) developing small molecules which can cause stem cells to become nerve or skin cells (with applications in regenerative medicine and tissue replacement therapy); and (3) developing optical materials with applications in new flat screen displays and 3D imaging in biological systems.
I am developing environmentally friendly catalytic processes which turn inexpensive organic starting materials into high value-added products. These are especially useful to the pharmaceutical and agrochemical industries for the preparation of libraries of compounds for testing as new drug candidates or crop protection compounds, and I work closely with GSK and Syngenta Ltd. I also develop new catalysts which offer enhanced reactivity (saving energy and time), or use cheaper, less toxic metals such as copper.
I am developing stable organic compounds which, when added to cultures of stem cells make the cells differentiate specifically into desired tissue types (e.g., nerve or skin cells). I work closely with biologists and 2 local companies, and our first compound is now commercial. Initially, these compounds will be widely used for making tissues for research purposes, e.g., testing of new drug candidates avoiding use of animals. Our compounds also have potential applications in cancer chemotherapy, especially for neuroblastoma, a deadly cancer in children.
I also synthesise transition metal compounds which are phosphorescent for use in OLED displays or are unexpectedly highly fluorescent, and other compounds which can be used for two-photon, high resolution 3D fluorescence imaging in biological systems.
Scheme: International Incoming Fellowships
Dates: Jan 2007-Dec 2007
Summary: This project summary is not available for publication.