Richard Doveston receives grant for drug discovery research
With his newly received Marie Curie grant, Dr. Richard Doveston will work on drug discovery in the Chemical Biology Group. His approach of strengthening our natural immune system by adding synthetic drug molecules to work side by side with the body’s natural defenses has been shown to have a lot of potential. Furthermore, he aims to strengthening international ties and scientific liaisons to nourish our research on drug development.
Over recent years the pharmaceutical industry has increasingly turned to academic scientists for the inspiration and out-of-the box thinking required to develop drugs capable of treating ‘incurable diseases’. For example, drug molecules have traditionally been designed to prevent ‘bad’ or unwanted responses in our bodies. However, the opposite approach whereby our own immune system is given extra help to do its job has been studied far less. Giving the natural good guys in our body more ‘fire power’ could prove to be a better attack plan than adding extra fighters.
Chemically, the approach Doveston will focus his research on translates into for example stabilizing an interaction between two proteins. He will exploit organic synthesis, biophysical techniques and protein crystallography in a bottom-up search for novel drug molecules that act as such stabilizers. Crucially, the approach looks to nature herself as inspiration for those all-important starting points.
Do you want to know more about his research or ask him about further details? Please visit the BME colloquium on October 12th 12.30-13.30 in Gemini Zuid 4.24.
In March 2015 Richard moved to work in the Chemical Biology Group at the TU/e. His research, carried out under Prof. Luc Brunsveld and Dr. Christian Ottmann, focusses on the synthesis and evaluation of small molecules as potential modulators of protein-protein interactions.
Richard graduated from the University of Leicester in 2008 with a first class MChem degree in Pharmaceutical chemistry (including a year in industry with GlaxoSmithKline). He went on to complete a Ph.D. in the group of Prof. Richard J. K. Taylor at the University of York, where his work culminated in the first total synthesis of the natural product janoxepin. In 2012 he moved to a post-doctoral position with Prof. Adam Nelson and Prof. Steve Marsden at the University of Leeds to work in the area of lead-oriented synthesis. Here, his research involved the development of both computational tools and synthetic methodologies which when used in combination could efficiently deliver libraries of ‘lead-like’ molecular scaffolds.
Officially the grant is part of the so-called Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions (SKCA) within Horizon 2020, the current funding program of the European Committee. The grants, formally labeled as Individual Fellowships, range from 166,000 to 178,000 euro for two years. That is comparable with the Dutch Veni grant from NWO, which are worth up to 250,000 euro for three years.