Student skills recognised by global pharmaceutical company

19 February 2018

Winners of the GSK Prizes
Winners of the GSK Prizes: Danielle Merrikin, Joshua Morris, Karl Griffiths

Undergraduate students from the School of Chemistry have been presented with a number of prizes for the quality of their research by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

BSc and MChem students had the opportunity to showcase their knowledge and skills to a potential employer, as global pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) visited the School of Chemistry at Cardiff University twice before Christmas 2017.

In November, Dr Afjal Miah from the GSK branch in Stevenage visited the School to award GSK sponsored certificates and financial prizes for student performances in organic chemistry. Joshua Morris won the prize for Best Performance in first year organic chemistry and Karl Griffiths was the recipient of the prize for Best Performance in second year organic chemistry (both for academic year 2016/17).

Danielle Merrikin was awarded the GSK prize for Best Performance in an MChem Project for her work on targeted drug delivery project via the functionalisation of SPION’s, antibodies and platinum based complexes, under the guidance of Dr Ian Fallis and Dr Angelo Amoroso. After completing her MChem in 2016/17, Danielle has remained in the School as a PhD student.

On behalf of GSK, Dr Miah said: “We like to support student development and recognise excellence through our strategic University Partnerships. It is a real pleasure to be able to give these awards to talented and young individuals.”

In December, the current cohort of second year students participated in a poster presentation for GSK prizes. Thirty-two teams of Cardiff chemistry students took part in this GSK sponsored competition, presenting posters on recently published research and then discussing them with panel of judges. Three teams were awarded certificates from GSK for best poster and scientific discussion on topics as diverse as polymer foams for efficient solar steam generation (H. Kobayashi, H. Kaiki, A. Shrotri, K. Techikawara, A. Fukuoka, Chem. Sci., 2016, 7, 692-696), hydrolysis of woody biomass by a biomass-derived reusable heterogeneous catalyst (Q. Chen, Z. Pei, Y. Xu, Z. Li, Y. Yang, Y. Wei, Y. Ji, Chem. Sci. 2018, 9, 623-628) and chemoselective intermolecular cross-enolate-type coupling of amides (D. Kaiser, C. J. Teskey, P. Adler, N. Maulide, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2017, 139, 16040-16043).

Winners of the GSK poster prizes
Winners of the GSK poster prizes

Professor Damien Murphy, Head of the School of Chemistry, said: “What was exciting about the posters from the second years’ was the breadth of topics on display. Amongst the winners were examples from organic synthesis, energy & sustainability and catalysis. The students had to gain a good grasp of these cutting-edge topics in order to defend their posters. It’s very encouraging.”

“Celebrating excellence and hard-work amongst the student cohort is important and always something we like to do as a School, but this new series of awards and recognition form GSK helps students realise that it’s not just the School of Chemistry that is invested in their future and development.”

GSK is a global company which researches, develops and manufacturse a wide range of prescription medicines, vaccines and consumer healthcare products with the purpose of helping people to do more, feel better and live longer. The company has close ties with the School of Chemistry at Cardiff University, offering industrial placement opportunities as well as internships.