PhD students to present work to MPs in Parliament

Two PhD students from the Department of Chemistry have been selected to present their research in the House of Commons next month.

Felicity Noakes and Kirsty SmittenFelicity Noakes and Kirsty Smitten, who work in Professor Jim Thomas’ group, will be presenting their work to a number of MPs as part of the STEM for Britain competition.

The event, on Wednesday 13 March, aims to showcase the best research and results from early stage or early career researchers, their ability to communicate their work to a non-expert audience.

Much of the Thomas Group's research focuses on the way luminescent coordination complexes interact with biomolecules, such as DNA. Both Felicity and Kirsty’s research focus on combatting challenges in the pharmaceutical industry, and they are both authors on a recent paper published by the Thomas group that focuses on new chemotherapeutics.

Third year PhD student Kirsty, who won the Nova Prize for Chemistry last year, has synthesised a novel set of antimicrobial complexes with higher activities than currently used antibiotics. These compounds are active against the two bacteria identified by the World Health Organisation as priority 1: critical.

Felicity, who is in the second year of her PhD, has been working on a drug with activity against ovarian cancer cell lines with an atypical mode of action, which is necessary due to growing tumour resistance.

At STEM for Britain, Kirsty and Felicity will both be in the running for prizes of £2,000, £1,000 and £750 in the Chemistry category.

Another PhD student from our department, Dave Ashworth, competed in last year's STEM for Britain contest, presenting his research into novel two-dimensional materials.

Congratulations, and good luck to Kirsty and Felicity!