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The University of Southampton

Southampton chemist wins prestigious Royal Society of Chemistry Award

Published: 6 May 2014
Professor Phil Gale

Professor Phil Gale, Head of Chemistry at the University of Southampton has been named the Royal Society of Chemistry Supramolecular Chemistry Award winner for 2014.

Professor Gale's research aims to provide a new, interdisciplinary approach for treating cystic fibrosis, cancer and other global diseases. To achieve this aim his group uses Supramolecular Chemistry. 

Supramolecular Chemistry, also described as "Chemistry beyond the molecule", concerns the design of molecules that use weak interactions (such as hydrogen bonding - the same interactions that hold water molecules together in ice) to selectively bind guest molecules or charged particles (ions), or interact with other molecules to form a structure that assembles itself. 

In patients with cystic fibrosis the flow of some ions is restricted, leading to the production of sticky mucus that causes lung infections.  Professor Gale's group is designing molecules that will bind these ions and restore normal flow.

Professor Gale says: "I was delighted to receive this award from the RSC, in part for our work on anion transport through models of cell membranes.  My group is working to find new ways of treating cancer and cystic fibrosis using anion transporters and I am delighted that the hard work of my students and post-docs has been recognised in this way."

Head of Chemistry, Professor of Supramolecular Chemistry
Professor Phil Gale

Dr Robert Parker, Chief Executive of the Royal Society of Chemistry, said: "Each year we present Prizes and Awards to chemical scientists who have made an outstanding contribution, be that in their area of research, in industry or academia.

"We're working to shape the future of the chemical sciences for the benefit of science and humanity and these Prizes and Awards give recognition to true excellence.

"Our winners can be very proud to follow in the footsteps of some of the most influential and important chemical scientists in history."

An incredible 47 previous winners of the Royal Society of Chemistry's Awards have gone on to win Nobel Prizes for their pioneering work, including Harry Kroto, Fred Sanger and Linus Pauling.

Indeed, one of the 2012 Royal Society of Chemistry Prize winners, Arieh Warshel, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry last year.

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