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UCL School of Pharmacy represented in Parliament

16 May 2017

Spiral bacteria

The division has been represented at the Houses of Parliament at both postdoctoral and undergraduate level by Dr Asma Buanz and Miss Evangeline Chai.

Dr Asma Buanz recently attended an event in Parliament to present her research as part of STEM for BRITAIN; an event for which participants were selected from hundreds of applicants.

Asma present her work on inkjet printing for personalised medicine and crystallisation in confinement to a range of politicians and panel of expert judges.

Her current post is funded by EPSRC and she is working with Professor Simon Gaisford as part of the CPOSS project, in collaboration with Professor Sarah (Sally) Price from UCL Chemistry, and Professor Alastair Florence from the University of Strathclyde.

STEM for BRITAIN is an annual poster competition organized by the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee to support early career researchers and is the only national competition of its kind. There are four sessions in the event; engineering, biological and biomedical, physical sciences and mathematics. Asma presented in the biological and biomedical sciences session.
Asma said that "it was a real pleasure to be selected to present my research with printing medicines at the House of commons. I had the chance to meet other scientists and members who showed a great interest in my work." Simon Gaisford commented that "Asma’s selection to participate in this prestigious event shows the novelty and potential application for her work in inkjet printing pharmaceuticals and it also reflect her growing national and international profile as an outstanding researcher”.

Fourth-year MPharm student Evangeline Chai was also selected to represent UCL at Posters in Parliament, a national undergraduate research poster competition organised by the British Conference of Undergraduate Research (BCUR). The event, which was held on 14th March 2017 at the Houses of Parliament, saw more than 40 students from universities across the UK taking part.

Evangeline presented the research she conducted on synthetic heparin analogues to a panel of judges, comprising representatives from academia and Parliament. This research was part of her final-year project, where she studied abroad under the guidance of Professor Jian Liu at the Eshelman School of Pharmacy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

When asked for her thoughts on the competition, Evangeline remarked, “I am indeed honoured to have been given this fantastic opportunity to represent UCL. It was an intellectually stimulating experience engaging scientists and non-scientists alike with my research into heparin, which is a vital drug used in clinical practice.”  In the course of her research, Evangeline found that one of the synthetic heparin analogues displays a fast clearance rate in a rat model. Her discovery offers a possible choice of a short-acting anticoagulant drug candidate that could reduce the risk of bleeding.

These findings have been published in an article recently accepted by the Journal of the American Chemical Society, entitled “Synthesis of 3-O-sulfated oligosaccharides to understand the relationship between structures and functions of heparan sulfate”. Evangeline is a co-author of the manuscript.