SCI's final year Scholars present their research findings

The SCI College of Scholars aims to support and raise the profile of both scholars and SCI scholarships in their host universities as well as the wider community. At present, two final-year scholars, Simon Beaumont and Fionn O’Hara are completing their PhD research in Cambridge, and Claire Stanley is completing hers at Imperial College London.

On 28 April 2010, an event organised jointly by the Cambridge and Great Eastern Group and the University of Cambridge's ChemSoc gathered an audience of over 50 people to listen to the presentations of SCI's final-year scholars, Fionn O'Hara, Simon Beaumont, and Claire Stanley.

These promising young scientists faced the daunting task of presenting a brief summary of their doctoral research in 15 minutes to a home audience, and took questions from a quite engaged audience. Their presentations were received with interest and sparked discussions that extended into a drinks reception held after the lecture, where attendees took the opportunity to network.

The event was attended by two Patrons of the College of Scholars, Dr Andy Merritt (MRC Technology) and Dr Dave Allen (GSK). Professor Alan Heaton, Principal of the College of Scholars, opened the meeting, and ChemSoc provided an excellent Chair for the talks.

Claire Stanley, from the Oscar Ces Group (Imperial College) discussed her work 'Development of high-throughput platforms for the study of drug-membrane interactions', which has implications of interest to the pharmaceutical industry in terms of drug delivery, and explained how her research group has developed an approach for the high-throughput generation of droplet interface bilayers, using microfluidics, that enables the formation of multiple lipid bilayers across which one can assess the behaviour of both biological and pharmaceutical molecules.

Simon Beaumont, from the Richard Lambert Group (University of Cambridge), presented his work 'Heterogeneous Asymmetric C=C Hydrogenation: Enantiodirection by Surface Tethered Chiral Modifiers'. The implications of his project are of huge interest to industry. By synthesis and application of a range of chiral pyrrolidine-based sulfides, which robustly anchor to Pd nanoparticles, Simon has accomplished true heterogeneous enantioselective catalytic C=C hydrogenation. A mechanistic origin for enantioselectivity has been proposed, paving the way for rational design of future chiral surface modifiers.

Fionn O’Hara, from the Matthew Gaunt Group (University of Cambridge) discussed her project, 'New strategies for chemical synthesis: iterative metal-catalysed C-H bond functionalisation', which aims to synthesise dictyodendrin B and dictyodendrin C from 4-bromoindole using a number of C-H bond functionalisation reactions. Her group envisages that this strategy will allow these complex structures to be built up very quickly, while retaining enough flexibility in the synthesis to allow easy access to analogues.

SCI’s scholars also presented their research findings at SCI's AGM.

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