A new PhD student has been appointed to a joint programme with Diamond Light Source, the University of Oxford and Chroma Therapeutics. Victoria Arena will be based at the multi-disciplinary Research Complex at Harwell (RCaH), where she will undertake a three year PhD project in the area of structure-based drug design.
Oxfordshire’s status as one of the best places in the world to study science is reflected in this training opportunity. While Victoria will be based full-time in the RCaH, the project will also involve using the state-of-the-art facilities for X-ray crystallography at Diamond and undertaking work placements in an industrial setting at Chroma Therapeutics.
Victoria’s project will focus on the structure and mechanism of selective enzymes in the body with an overall aim of designing safer, more effective drugs. It will provide an excellent opportunity for training in structural biology and computational chemistry. Today’s structure-based drug design programmes benefit greatly from X-ray crystallography facilities such as those available at Diamond, for instance a number of the new HIV drugs and Tamiflu were developed with the help of synchrotron studies.
“This project gives me a fantastic opportunity to work on biochemistry research that could, in the future, bring benefits to patients suffering from inflammatory diseases. I’m really looking forward to doing experiments at Diamond as I’m aware of the amazing potential of such facilities but have yet to gain first-hand experience at a synchrotron.”
“Having the first PhD student here in this programme is really exciting as it demonstrates our role in helping to build up the experience and training of the next generation of scientists, who have a critical role to play in underpinning the UK’s competitiveness and our success in recovering from the current economic downturn. The OPPF-UK provides a really valuable service to the structural biology community and, with the Chroma and Diamond links, I am sure Victoria is going to have a fascinating and productive three years here.”
Prof. Simon Phillips, Director of the RCaH
Diamond Light Source is the UK's national synchrotron science facility, located at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire.
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