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SCHOOL OF CHEMISTRY NEWS
17th International Conference on Heterocycles in Bioorganic Chemistry
NUI Galway hosted the 17th International Conference on Heterocycles in Bioorganic Chemistry 28-31 May 2017, which was attended by about 100 delegates.
There were six plenary lectures, six invited lectures as well as a host of oral communications and poster sessions.
Conference highlights included the Royal Society of Chemistry Pedler Award Lecture given by Prof Helma Wennemers (ETH Zurich) and the International Society of Heterocyclic Chemistry Lecture by Prof Henk Hiemstra (University of Amsterdam).
The conference ended with a lecture from Prof Till Opatz (Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz) and with an awards ceremony.
NUI Galway picked up all of the student awards, which included best oral communication prize to Martin Sweeney and best student poster awards to Karen Fox and Gerard Hawkins.
Best overall poster prize went to Prof Shinya Fujii (University of Tokyo).
The chair of the scientific committee, Prof Jan Bergman (Karolinska Institute) announced the election of the conference chair, Dr Fawaz Aldabbagh to the scientific committee of Bioheterocycles.
Dr Aldabbagh thanks all those who helped organise the thoroughly enjoyable conference including Dr Styliana Mirallai, Dr Niall Geraghty, Prof Liam Spillane, Dr Dennis Smith, Dr Eoin Scanlan and Prof Paul Murphy.
NUI Galway Research on Converting Biomass to High Value Molecules For Drug Discovery
Researchers from the School of Chemistry at NUI Galway have produced research that has been published this week in the international journal Synthesis, and has been featured on the journal’s front cover. The research involved the development of a strategy to convert biomass to high value molecules for investigation in new drug discovery projects such as Type-2 Diabetes, Gaucher’s disease and Fabry disease.
Synthesis is devoted to the advancement of the science of synthetic chemistry and papers featured in the journal are noted as being ‘original papers of exceptional high quality and significance to the scientific community’.
Professor Paul Murphy, Head of the School of Chemistry at NUI Galway, and a PhD researcher from the School, Rekha Chadda from Co. Sligo, worked together to develop a new strategy to convert mannose, a naturally occurring sugar manufactured from wood-based or other biomass, into higher value chemicals, called glycomimetics, that can be useful in drug discovery. Professor Patrick McArdle from the School of Chemistry, performed X-ray crystal structure analysis, which helped them confirm the molecular structure of substances produced in the research.
Some glycomimetics are in clinical use and are used for the treatment of patients with Type-2 Diabetes, Gaucher’s disease (a genetic disorder) and Fabry disease (an inherited disorder that results from the build-up of a particular type of fat). A glycomimetic (UV4) is currently in clinical trials with a view to the therapy of infection caused by the Dengue virus and there is potential in treatment of other infections.
Professor Paul Murphy at NUI Galway, said: “The research demonstrates the value of Synthetic Chemistry. We used a renewable molecule, the sugar mannose, from biomass as a basis for generating higher value molecules that have potential in drug discovery projects. In future we would like to expand the application of the strategy to make other important molecules for drug discovery projects as well as see if the approach can have application in synthesis of pharmaceuticals.”
The team used a new strategy, not investigated previously, to produce the glycomimetics. These new agents are now available for evaluation of their potential in drug discovery and this will be shortly investigated. Synthesis is a practice used by chemists to discover and manufacture drugs in everyday clinical use. It is also used to produce materials, such as plastics, which find everyday applications in people’s lives. In this research, Rekha Chadda took a substance prepared from mannose and subjected the substance to two old chemical reactions combined in a novel way. The reactions are known as allylic azide rearrangement and Huisgen cycloaddition, and were originally developed more than 50 years ago by US and German scientists.
This research study was funded by NUI Galway (PhD scholarship to Rekha Chadda), Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and the European Regional Development Fund.
Gold Medal for NUI Galway Chemistry ExpertThursday, 4 May, 2017:
NUI Galway’s Professor Henry Curran, a world expert in chemistry combustion, has been awarded the prestigious 2017 Boyle Higgins Gold Medal Award. Professor Curran’s research expertise informs the design of cleaner, more efficient energy systems.
The Boyle Higgins Gold Medal Award is awarded by The Institute of Chemistry of Ireland. It is awarded for a significant contribution to chemistry made by an Irish chemist working in Ireland or abroad, or by a chemist of any nationality, working in Ireland.
Professor Curran is Director of the Combustion Chemistry Centre at NUI Galway’s School of Chemistry and of the Energy Research Centre in the University’s Ryan Institute, commented: “My research interest is in the study of the chemistry of how fuels burn in combustors, in order to increase efficiency and reduce emissions. It is truly an honour to be recognised by my peers in this way. Ireland has such a strong cohort of experts working in the field of chemistry, that to be chosen for this accolade is truly gratifying.”
The Combustion Chemistry Centre at NUI Galwayis engaged in fundamental research on the combustion of fossil and biofuels. Professor Curran and his team are concerned with the application of combustion research to the design of energy efficient engine and gas turbine combustion systems, and the impact of their use on toxic and greenhouse gas emissions, towards helping address the problems of urban air pollution and climate change.
On receipt of his award, Professor Curran delivered a lecture to the Institute of Chemistry of Ireland entitled ‘Developing Detailed Chemical Kinetic Mechanisms for Fuel Combustion’.
Much of Professor Curran’s work is on internationally-collaborative projects with companies including Shell Global Solutions, Rolls Royce Canada Ltd., Siemens Canada Ltd., Renault and Saudi Arabian Oil Company.Professor Curran is also involved in the EU-funded project, ECCO-MATE, which aims to create a research and training platform for the improvement of diesel engines.
Professor Paul Murphy, Head of the School of Chemistry at NUI Galway, said: “The School of Chemistry offers their most enthusiastic congratulations to Professor Curran on the award of the Boyle-Higgins Medal from the Institute of Chemistry, which recognises his contributions to both Pure and Applied Chemistry, given the strong relevance of his research for Industry. Professor Curran has provided pioneering expertise in his area and is fully deserving of this recognition by the professional body for Chemistry in Ireland.”
Professor Henry Curran is ranked among the world’s top 1% of scientific minds by Clarivate Analytics, formerly the Intellectual Property and Science business of Thomson Reuters. He has been among the most highly cited researchers since the ranking started in 2014.
For more information contact Gwen O’Sullivan, Acting Press & Information Executive, NUI Galway on firstname.lastname@example.org or 091 495695.
Photo HJC_gold_medal: Professor Henry Curran, Director of the Combustion Chemistry Centre at NUI Galway’s School of Chemistry, receives the prestigious 2017 Boyle Higgins Gold Medal Award. Photo: NUI Galway
Congratulations to Martin Sweeney and Kasia Gniado on jointly winning the BOC Gases Postgraduate award this week.
Congrats to cousins Ciara and Michelle Kyne who graduated on the 23rd of March 2017 with a PhD in Chemistry
School of Chemistry, Kitchen Chemistry at the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition, Dublin January 2017
School of Chemistry students win prestigious awards
Five Chemistry students were recognised recently for their Awards and Achievements recently by the University President, Registrar and Vice President for Students at a function organised recently in the Aula Maxima at NUI Galway.
Vincent Naughton (second from the left) was highly commended by the Undergraduate Awards in Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences for his BSc project work in the School of Chemistry.
David Dineen (third from the left) who studied Chemistry in the 2015/16 academic year and is now a final year Pharmacology student, was awarded an Amgen Scholarship and he carried out research work at the Institute Pasteur in Paris.
Conan Mercer (second from the right) currently a PhD Researcher in the School of Chemistry, won best poster prize at the 16th International Conferecne on Electroanalysis in Bath, UK.
Kiefer Ramberg (extreme right) a Biopharmaceutical Chemistry graduate, and currently a PhD student in the School of Chemistry, received a National University of Ireland Travelling Scholarship.
Congratulations to Vincent, David, Conan and Kiefer on their achievements.
Fullbright awards 2016-2017
Ms. Sylvia Soldatou has been awarded a Fullbright award for 2016-2017. Ms Soldatou is currently a PhD candidate here in the School of Chemistry at NUI Galway. As a Fulbright Student Awardee, Sylvia will focus on a chemical ecology project comparing the chemistry produced by Irish algal and mollusk samples. She will conduct her research at the University of South Florida. email@example.com
Paralympic qualifier Dr. Patrick O'Leary
Our very own Dr. Patrick O'Leary has qualified for the Paralympics in Rio this year. Dr. O'Leary a native Cork man living in Moycullen secured his para-canoe place in May. The very best of luck Pat.
January 2015: RIA Charlemont Grant 2015
Dr Anuradha Pallipurath, a postdoctoral research associate in the School of Chemistry, supervised by Dr Andrea Erxleben, is one of the recipients of this year’s Royal Irish Academy Charlemont Grants.
Dr Pallipurath won an award of €2,300 to pursue a month long collaborative research with the University of Cambridge titled, “Terahertz spectroscopic analysis of crystallisation kinetics of amorphous composite materials – experimental and computational studies”. With this study she hopes to have a holistic understanding of the phase transformation between the crystalline polymorphs and amorphous systems of model drugs, experimentally and through Abinitio lattice dynamics calculations. This understanding is of prime importance to improve the stability and processability of drugs and is indirectly important for the economics of the pharmaceutical industry.
2nd October 2014: School of Chemistry Tag Rugby Team Victorious!
Congratulations to the School of Chemistry tag rugby team who recently competed in the 2014 ITRA Galway Autumn League. The team came out 16-15 winners in a thrilling and closely contested Division 1 final.
Well done guys!
Team members included: Noel Byrne, Hannah Smith, Paul Kavanagh, Michelle Kyne, Anthony McDonagh, Chris Magee, Nora Crushell, Pawel Antonik, Edel Houton, Shane O'Sullivan, Karen Fox, Aine Fox, Jessie Nulty, Tony McHale, Sarah Dillon, Conor Dennehy and Yannick Casamayou.
18th September 2014: Irish Undergraduate Awards
Congratulations to Leah Kearney, 4th year undergraduate Chemistry student from 2013/4 academic year, on being highly commended by the Irish Undergraduate Awards in the Chemical and Pharmaceutical Science category. This was for her 4th year essay carried out under the direction of Dr. Alan Ryder. Those highly commended represent the top 10% of submissions (out of 4,792 submitted around the world) selected by reviewers. The UA global Summit (link), which will bring together Winners and Highly Commended entrants from all over the world to Dublin, Ireland is being held on November 19-21, 2014. The winners will be announced later this month so we wish Leah the best of luck.
For more details: http://www.undergraduateawards.com/
2nd July 2014: Professor Henry Curran ranked as among top 1% researchers in the world
3rd April 2014: School of Chemistry BOC Postgraduate Award
The award is supported by BOC Gases and recognises research achievements, in terms of published work and impact as well as outreach, and contributions to the School and University, of PhD candidates in the School.
The joint-winners were
Peter O Conghaile who gave a presentation entitled 'Tailoring surfaces and supports for enzyme electrodes with application to biopower device development'
Mark Farrell who gave a presentation entitled 'The anomerisation of glycosidic linkages'
Pictured below are: Eamonn Glynn (BOC), Mark Farrell, Shane Gough (BOC) and Peter O Conghaile.