Imperial College London

Congratulations Josh!


Josh wins RSC Poster Prize

Josh Tomkins has won a poster prize at the RSC/BACR Meeting Bringing Chemical Biology to Cancer Research

Josh presented a poster on 2nd/3rd December 2021 at the joint RSC and BACR Meeting on Bringing Chemical Biology to Cancer Research.

He presented the work from his PhD project targeting DNA Replication in cancer. Cancer is frequently treated via chemical inhibition of DNA synthesis with DNA damaging reagents such as DNA alkylating reagents (e.g. cisplatin), antimetabolites (e.g. pemetrexed) or anti-tumor antibiotics (e.g. doxorubicin). These chemotherapeutics are highly efficient at killing cancer cells, but they also generate large numbers of DNA mutations, increasing the chance of relapse and affecting proliferating healthy cells which causes undesirable side effects.

An alternative approach is attacking the DNA replication machinery to inhibit formation of the replication fork whilst ensuring DNA itself is not damaged. The process by which replication fork assembly occurs on chromatin is known as “ replication origin licensing”, and involves multiple protein-protein interactions (PPIs). Crucially, healthy cells possess a checkpoint to ensure correct origin licensing whereas many cancer cells do not and inhibition of origin licensing has been shown to result in unsuccessful mitosis and p53-independent cell death in cancer cells.

Josh's work aims to design and synthesise peptides that can disrupt crucial PPIs and inhibit origin licensing.


Anna Barnard

Anna Barnard
Department of Chemistry

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