11 May 2015
The London Group concluded its Spring 2015 lecture series on 29 April with Michael J Waring’s (AstraZeneca) talk on Molecular Oncology – past present and future of anti-cancer drug design, at the New York University in London. This was the third lecture which the Group have organised in partnership with New York University. The previous being ‘Using Genetic Engineering to Combat Disease-Carrying Mosquitoes’ by Dr Hadyn Parry in March and ‘Beating the Superbugs: avoiding an antibiotic apocalypse’ by Prof Christopher Schofield in October 2014.
In his lecture, Dr Waring described the role that medicinal chemistry has played in the development of today’s established anti-cancer treatments, the modern approaches to targeted therapies and future challenges in tackling resistance to these therapies. This was showcased with stories of how some of today's recognised drugs were discovered and how modern medicinal chemistry approaches have been applied to discover new treatments, which show great promise for the future.
The Spring lectures kicked off at UCL in January, where the London Group has a long-standing collaborative agreement with UCL’s Chemical Physical Society (CPS). The first lecture was given by Prof Alwyn Davies, who spoke about the history of the UCL Chemistry Department. He spoke in particular about two characters that had significantly influenced the department and played a big part in the development of chemistry. Alexander Williamson was the third head of the department and discovered the Williamson ether synthesis reaction and Katherine Lonsdale pioneered crystallography and was one of the first two female Fellows of the Royal Society in 1945).
The second talk was given by Prof Lesley Yellowlees (University of Edinburgh and first female President of the RSC). Prof Yellowless spoke passionately about inspiring and increasing the numbers of women studying in the sciences. The majority of women with qualifications in the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) do not work in STEM areas, consequently there is a serious loss to the economy and to the subject area.
Talks then ranged from Andrea Sella’s lecture on the rare earth elements, to the role of chemists in the discovery of new medicines, airborne particles and the origins of modern military medicine
Prof Pedro Ferreira, University of Oxford, spoke about Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity and described its complicated history, the characters that developed it and tried to convince us that something fantastic is about to happen in the next few years.
Other talks included the impact of making music on children’s development, the dangerous allure of invisibility and the CPS Presidential Lecture on nanotechnology.
The London Group also teamed-up with the Food Group to hold their annual Food for Thought event at UCL on 23 April. This was an opportunity to hear the presentations from the 2014 IFST Young competition (Northern Branch) and the 2014 Nursten Symposium. Derek Prentice (previously Brewing Manager at Fuller Smith and Turner) gave the keynote speech on beer, which was followed by a lively beer tasting session.
In total, fourteen lectures were held between January and April and we hope that they will continue at the same pace when the lecture series returns in the Autumn. Until then we hope that Members will enjoy the London Group Social event on 12 June – Tour of Chiswick House Gardens and Fuller’s Brewery. Places are still available, so if you’d like to attend, make sure you book by 20 May to secure your place.
- SCI London Group Social Event 2015: Tour of Chiswick House Gardens and Fuller’s Brewery, 12 June 2015 – Book Your Place by 20 May
- SCI London Group
- SCI Food Group