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The University of Southampton

School of Chemistry success at University Research Showcase

Published: 13 May 2010

Students from the School of Chemistry have been highly recognised for their excellent research work at the University’s annual Faculty of Engineering, Science and Maths Research Showcase.

PhD students from the School scooped gold, silver and highly commended awards at this annual event, which is intended to highlight to a wide audience the outstanding doctoral and postdoctoral research being carried out in the Faculty.

Projects drawn from a range of subject areas were showcased in themed poster sessions, focussing particularly on some of the University’s strategic research areas: Life Sciences; Living with Environmental Change; Maritime Studies; Energy; Complex Systems Simulation; Mathematical modelling.

Andrew Guy, a 2nd year PhD student from the School of Chemistry, received a Gold Award for his research into nanopores.

Andrew is sponsored by the Biotechnoloy and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and Oxford Nanopore Technologies, who are working to develop revolutionary technology for single molecule detection and analysis. His gold-winning poster detailed his research into the interaction of protein nanopores with single stranded DNA. The movement of molecules such as DNA through the nanopore can modify (or block) an applied TM current, and hence enables the detection of individual analyte molecules. The extent to which the current is blocked is characteristic of the analytes, meaning that the pore can be used as a sensor of molecules in solution. This is of interest in several fields, but particularly in DNA sequencing.

Robert Johnson and Michael Bodnarchuk from the School were awarded silver awards at the event.

Michael, a 2nd year PhD student has been conducting research into the development of computational methods of Fragment-Based Drug Discovery (FBDD), which is a new tool used to identify potential drug molecules. Michael’s methods have been tested on two targets; an influenza target and an anticancer target. It is envisaged that this method may be used against unknown targets to predict potential drug molecules, as well as being used in the lead development stage of drug discovery.

Robert Johnson presented work into the detection of DNA mutations and differential denaturation, and demonstrated how a technique known as E-melting could one day be used to support the diagnosis of genetic disease at the point of care.

John Blake and Thaonguyen Nguyen from the School of Chemistry also received highly commended awards for their research poster displays.

The Showcase was attended by staff from across the University and by invited guests from industry, local businesses, schools and community associations. It provided the opportunity for visitors to discover more about the research being undertaken across the very broad range of research groups within the Faculty of Engineering, Science and Maths, to network informally with supervisors and members of the University, and to meet students of high ability who will soon be entering the job market.

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