23 March 2020

Sheffield chemistry student named in Forbes 30 under 30 Europe list for Science and Healthcare

Kirsty Smitten has been honoured alongside musician Lewis Capaldi and activist Greta Thunberg for her work to combat antimicrobial resistance.

Kirsty Smitten

A University of Sheffield researcher has been named in the Forbes 30 under 30 Europe list for Science and Healthcare.

Kirsty Smitten, a PhD researcher and former undergraduate from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Chemistry, has been honoured for her work which is helping to combat antimicrobial resistance.

Her research is focussed on developing metal-based therapeutic compounds derived from ruthenium to create new antibiotics. So far, she has synthesized over 20 new antimicrobial compounds and is continuing to develop two of them.

The two novel ruthenium antimicrobial compounds have shown higher antimicrobial activities than current clinically available antibiotics, across several strains of bacteria, and have been found to completely clear a bacterial infection in a living model.

Kirsty said: “It feels amazing to be featured on the list with such inspirational people and for my work on antimicrobial resistance to be globally recognised. To be featured alongside one of my favourite actors, Ncuti Gatwa, was particularly exciting.”

One compound developed by Kirsty could be a potential new treatment for gram-negative bacteria such as E. coli.

Kirsty's supervisor, Professor Jim Thomas, said: "Over the years, I have really been blessed with some great students, but Kirsty is outstanding in both ability and her attitude to work. She has the potential to be an internationally leading scientist."

This is the fifth annual Forbes 30 under 30 Europe, which showcases 300 young visionaries boldly redefining ten industries across 32 European countries. The 2020 edition includes household names including musician Lewis Capaldi, model Cara Delevigne and environmental activist Great Thunberg.

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