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Royal Society of Chemistry honours UCD chemist

Posted May 17, 2016

UCD chemist Dr Susan Quinn has been recognised by the Royal Society of Chemistry for her work as part of an international research team investigating the relationship between the molecular origins of disease and the absorption of light energy by DNA.

The team’s research looked at the earliest steps of DNA oxidation – a process that happens in half a billionth of a second when light energy first makes contact with DNA.

Their recent findings have been published in Nature Chemistry; Angewandte Chemie; the Journal of American Chemical Society; Chemical Communications; and Chemical Science.

The Rita and John Cornforth Award 2016 was awarded jointly to Dr Susan Quinn, UCD School of Chemistry, Prof Christine Cardin, University of Reading and Prof John Kelly, Trinity College Dublin.

Their work was made possible through access to the Central Laser Facility in the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, UK and the Diamond Light Source, the UK’s national synchrotron facility.

Dr Quinn has been a visitor to the Ultrafast Laser Facility in Rutherford Appleton for over ten years and during this time has built up considerable expertise in the study of the excited states of DNA.

“Our research has allowed us to follow the motion of electrons right at the very beginning of DNA damage,” said Dr Quinn. “This achievement has exciting implications for future research into how certain forms of light can cause cancer but can also be used to treat it.”

By: Jonny Baxter, digital journalist, UCD University Relations