October 4, 2007
CSCB research celebrated at UCD Conway Festival

CSCB researchers presented their latest results through oral and poster communications at the annual UCD Conway Festival of Research in O’Reilly Hall, UCD on Thursday, September 20, 2007. This year's festival featured 130 presentations from UCD Conway researchers as well as keynote lectures from research leaders.

Keynote speakers at the Festival included Professor Kim Naysmith, University of Oxford, Professor Peter Dervan from the California Institute of Technology and Professor Steve Jones, a geneticist from University College London, who closed the conference with his keynote lecture: ‘Why evolution is right and creationism is wrong’.

From L to R: Professor Steve Jones, Dr Francesca Paradisi,
Professor Peter Dervan, Professor Kim Naysmith, Mr Peter Mangan,
and Professor Janet Allen

Two oral presentations were given by CSCB researchers. Isabela Aparicio spoke about the potential for treatment of malaria in her presentation entitled "Glutamate dehydrogenase as putative target for antimalarial drug design". Isabela works in the group of Professor Paul Engel, CSCB and UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science. Malaria causes about 2 million deaths per year, mostly in children under 5 years and is caused by a parasite for which no effective vaccines are available. The enzyme glutamate dehydrogenase is known to be highly active against the parasite. Studies of the GDH genes should provide important information about the physiological activity of the enzyme.

Ms Isabela Aparicio who gave an oral presentation at UCD Conway Festival of Research September 2007
Ms Isabela Aparicio who gave an oral presentation at the Festival

Dr Syed Tasadaque Ali-Shah, a post-doctoral scientist working with Professor Pat Guiry of the CSCB and UCD School of Chemistry and Chemical Biology reported on his latest results on the synthesis of bioactive chemically stable lipoxin analogues. In his talk "Stereoselective synthesis and biological evaluation of novel aromatic Lipoxin A4 analogues", he outlined how these molecules have shown promise in early biological testing as potent anti-inflammatories.

Dr Syed Tasadaque Ali-Shah and Michael Scannell at UCD Conway Festival of Research September 2007
(From L to R): Mr Michael Scannell, UCD School of Medicine
and Medical Science and Dr Syed Tasadaque Ali-Shah

The UCD Conway Festival of Research medal, sponsored by Roche, was awarded to Aisling O'Connor for her presentation "A potent Non-Porphyrin Class of Photodynamic Therapeutic Agent: Pre-Clinical and Mechanistic Studies".

Photodynamic therapy is an emerging treatment method for a range of diseases including cancer. It involves exposing a patient to fibre-optic light after giving them a therapeutic agent. This chemical is activated by light at the specific site of the disease. Aisling, who works with Professor William Gallagher, has shown that a family of compounds called BF2-chelated tetraaryl-azadipyrromethanes (ADPMs) cause tumours to disappear and the remaining lesion to heal. The ADPM molecules are synthesised by Dr Donal O'Shea's group in the CSCB and UCD School of Chemistry and Chemical Biology. Given results of experiments to date, ADPMs show promise as being effective agents in photodynamic therapy.

Ms Elaine O'Reilly presenting a poster at UCD Conway Festival of Research September 2007

Ms Elaine O'Reilly presenting her poster "A comparison between
traditional catalysts and sodium in the production of biodiesel
from the transesterification of vegetable oils"

Poster communications were divided into themes representing the six areas of biomedical research undertaken by scientists in UCD Conway Institute. CSCB postgraduate researchers presented posters under the theme of Chemical Biology. The poster prize in this area was won by Anusha Subasinghage for "Structure Determination of the Ranatuerin-2CSa by NMR spectroscopy".


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