Fergus McWhinnie (MChem Hons in Chemistry, University of Edinburgh) joined the group in 2013. He carried out his undergraduate project with Dr Alison Hulme developing a phase transfer catalysed approach to highly stereoselective 4-subsitituted prolines (Org. Lett., 2014) which he presented at the 15th Tetrahedron Symposium (London, 2014). He currently works in collaboration with Dr Tilo Kunath (MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine) and is funded by the BBSRC and MRC alongside industrial sponsors UCB. His research is directed at promoting the healthy folding of the intrinsically disordered neuroprotein alpha-synuclein by peptide stapling and evaluating its implications upon Parkinson’s disease. As part of his project he is developing stapled portions of alpha-Syn which may be used as both an analytical tool in the identification of Parkinson’s phenotypes and a possible therapeutic. Fergus has presented his work at the UCB CASE conference (London, 2014) and the Parkinson’s UK research conference (York, 2014).
Richard Brewster (MChem Hons in Medicinal and Biological Chemistry with Industrial Experience, University of Edinburgh) joined the group in Sept 2013. After an industrial placement with UCB Celltech in Belgium researching novel bicyclic heteraphosphacyclanes (Eur. J. Org. Chem., 2014), he carried out his undergraduate project with Dr. Uwe Schneider at the University of Edinburgh, investigating cationic phosphines in Lewis base catalysis. He has now joined the EASTBIO DTC funded by BBSRC and is developing biotinidase resistant biotin compounds for use: (i) tagging histones in collaboration with Dr Philipp Voigt in the School of Biological Sciences (Chem. Commun., 2016); and (ii) in imaging inflammation in collaboration with Dr Patrick Hadoke at the Queen Mary’s Research Institute. He has also used his experience in metathesis and handling air-sensitive compounds to complete the disorazole C1 synthesis (Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2015).
David Georgiev (BSc Hons in Chemistry with Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Heriot Watt University) joined the group in September 2013. He carried out his undergraduate project with Dr Matt Costen at the Heriot Watt University, investigating the collisional evolution of the rotational angular momentum in CN(A) using FM spectroscopy. He is now working on developing a novel stapling technique to stabilise the intrinsic secondary structure of both peptides and proteins using thiol-ene coupling (TEC) chemistry. As a side-project he has developed an efficient ortho-bromination reaction for phenols (Molecules, 2016).
Alisia Sim (MChem Chemistry for Drug Discovery with Industrial Placement, University of Bath) joined the group in September 2014. She carried out her undergraduate project on a novel methodology for the synthesis of isoindolinones under the supervision of Dr Steve Bull at the University of Bath. She is now on a joint EPSRC and MCR funded PhD Studentship in Medical Imaging and is working on the detection of apatite deposition in artherosclerotic plaques using OCT and various optical imaging techniques. This project is co-supervised by Dr Nudelman and Dr Dweck.
Christopher Allan (MSci in Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry with Work Placement, University of Glasgow) joined the group in September 2014. During his undergraduate project, Chris worked for Dr Rudi Marquez on the synthesis of novel detergents for the isolation of membrane-bound proteins. He is now funded by the Edinburgh Super-Resolution Imaging Consortium and his work involves developing a catch and release method for the mono-conjugation of fluorophores to biomolecules. This project builds on work published by the Hulme group (Org. Biomol. Chem., 2010) involving the synthesis of a diazo linker which can be cleaved under mild conditions.
Sally Vanden-Hehir (MChem Hons in Chemistry with Industrial Experience, University of Edinburgh) joined the group in Sept 2015. She carried out her undergraduate project with Dr David Clarke at the University of Edinburgh, using biomolecular mass spectrometry to study a ferritin-like protein to provide insight into bacterial iron storage. She has now joined the EASTBIO DTP, funded by the BBSRC, and is developing polymeric nanoparticles for targeted drug delivery. These nanoparticles will contain tags so they can be imaged in vivo using Raman spectroscopy.
Kristel Sepp (MChem Medicinal and Biological Chemistry, University of Edinburgh) joined the group in September 2016. As part of her undergraduate course she spent a year in Prof Leung Pak-Hing’s research group (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore), working on the synthesis of new chiral phosphines using asymmetric catalysis (Adv. Synth. Catal., 2015). After a summer project working in the Hulme group working on stapled peptides, she stayed in the Hulme group for her final year Masters project developing bioorthogonal Raman probes to study cholesterol uptake and distribution in cancer cells using Fluorescence and Raman Spectroscopy. As part of the OPTIMA CDT she is continuing her work in the Hulme group in collaboration with Prof Val Brunton (Edinburgh Cancer Research Centre), investigating the use of drug imaging technologies for cancer research using Raman spectroscopy.
Alan Zhao (MChem Medicinal and Biological Chemistry, University of Edinburgh) joined the group in January 2017. After an exchange project with Dr. Ho Yu Au-Yeung at the University of Hong Kong, working on the Synthesis of a copper (I) luminescent probe. He carried out his undergraduate project on the study of fluorescence quenching of 2-aminopurine and pyrrolocytosine with free nucleotide monophosphates under the supervision of Prof. Anita Jones at the University of Edinburgh. He is now jointly funded by IBioIC and Leica Biosystems, and is developing new biocatalytic systems for multiplexing histological staining.
Dr Alessio de Simone
Alessio De Simone (PhD in Drug Discovery at the Italian Institute of Technology) joined the group in September 2015. He carried out his PhD project on a novel class of molecules for the treatment of nicotine addiction and compulsive behaviours under the supervision of Dr Giovanni Bottegoni and Prof Andrea Cavalli at the Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa. During his PhD, he joined the group of Prof Paul Brennan at the Structural Genomic Consortium in Oxford, where he worked on the synthesis of novel bromodomain ligands. After his PhD, he moved to Edinburgh to join Hulme and Michel groups as a Postdoctoral Research Associate, working on the design and the synthesis of selective cyclophilin ligands. His research interests cover drug discovery and medicinal chemistry, with a particular focus on the rational design and synthesis of novel chemical entities with promising pharmacological activity.
Dr Will Tipping
William Tipping (MSci Hons in Chemistry with Industrial Experience, University of Nottingham) joined the group in September 2013. He carried out his undergraduate project with Dr. Neil Oldham at the University of Nottingham, developing the synthesis and screening of novel αv β6 integrin antagonists as potential treatments for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. His PhD work on the development of stimulated Raman scattering techniques (Chem. Soc. Rev., 2016) to guide pre-clinical drug evaluation studies was carried out in collaboration with Prof. Val Brunton (Edinburgh Cancer Research Centre) and funded jointly by Scottish Power and CRUK. As a BBSRC-funded postdoc Will is now using SRS to profile intracellular catalysis, looking particularly at bioorthogonal “click” reaction kinetics, working in collaboration with Prof. Val Brunton and Prof. Guy Lloyd-Jones.