Congratulations to PhD students Ammar Ahmed and Sarah Hassan on winning prizes at this year's Chemical Biology and Bioorganic Group symposium
This year's RSC CBBG postgraduate symposium took place at the University of York. The meeting presents an opportunity for early career researchers to showcase their contributions to the field.
PhD students Ammar Ahmed and Sarah Hassan were awarded prizes for their talk and poster competition. Ammar was awarded first prize for his talk and Sarah won second place for her poster. Sarah is funded by a prestigious President's PhD scholarship. Below is a short summary of their research projects.
The advent of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) was a breakthrough in the treatment of cancer, including the use of Rituximab for the treatment of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, as well as the use of Trastuzumab for the treatment of breast cancer. Despite their success, resistance remains a key obstacle and only a certain population of patients respond to the treatment. CD59, a small protein overexpressed by many cancer cells, plays a key role in the development of resistance to mAbs. We have managed to identify novel peptide hits with nanomolar affinity to CD59. The current work is about the optimisation of the initial hits through structure-activity relationship (SAR) determination, and development of new chemical probes for CD59 based on the parent peptides.
Prenylation, a subtype of protein lipidation, is liable to a unique and understudied phenomenon that is almost exclusive to a subset of Ras oncogenes, where proteins resist therapeutic intervention at the level of protein lipidation by switching their prenylation status. Sarah is developing new drug resistance-driven CRISPR screening technologies, in tandem with chemical proteomics, to deconvolute the mechanism of prenylation switching. Understanding these 'switch' dynamics may help in the identification of novel druggable vulnerabilities in cancer.
Congratulations Ammar and Sarah!
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