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Winners of the Chris McGuigan Drug Discovery Awards

In the 2019 Chris McGuigan Symposium, three awards were presented to researchers who have excelled in the field of drug discovery.

The McGuigan Outstanding PhD Thesis Award

Recognising the best thesis in drug delivery related research by a Cardiff University doctoral graduate.

The award was won by Dr Gilda Giancotti for her work on c-FLIP inhibitors. Dr Giancotti completed her PhD in Medicinal Chemistry at Cardiff University in 2018 under the supervision of Professor Andrea Brancale, working on the development of novel anti-cancer agents for the treatment of breast cancer.

She is currently working as a medicinal chemist for the Medicines Discovery Institute at Cardiff University, to develop novel drugs to treat mental health conditions.

Gilda Giancotti with Dr Geoff Henson
Gilda Giancotti with Dr Geoff Henson.
I am truly honoured to receive the McGuigan Outstanding PhD Thesis Award. This award represents one of the most significant achievements of my early career, and a further motivation to pursue my work in the research field.
Dr Gilda Gianotti

The McGuigan Rising Star Award

Given to an early career researcher who has made a significant, original and internationally recognised impact.

Dr Joana Rocha-Pereira of KU Leuven was awarded the prize for her work on creating new model systems for the discovery of medicines that target norovirus.

Joanna Rocha-Pereira with Dr Geoff Henson
Joanna Rocha-Pereira with Dr Geoff Henson.
Drug discovery is why I chose to study pharmacy, and being here in the Symposium in memory of a man who has given so much to drug discovery is very special.
Dr Joana Rocha-Pereira, KU Leuven

The McGuigan Award for Distinguished Work in Drug Discovery

Recognises a senior researcher who has a distinguished international reputation and a proven track record of leadership in initiating or progressing new scientific principles, or translating drug discovery towards the development of human medicines.

The award was given to Professor Ralf Bartenschlager of Heidelberg University, for his work on finding a cure for hepatitis C.

Professor Bartenschlager’s work over the last thirty years has included innovative imaging methods and cell culture systems with the aim of achieving detailed insights into the complex interactions between the host and its pathogens. These in-depth cell biological studies have led to the development of drugs that can cure hepatitis C in 94-99% of patients following a twelve week course, with minimal side effects.

Professor Bartenschlager and Dr Henson
Professor Bartenschlager and Dr Henson.
This is a true honour and recognition of the work my team and I did, and I am extremely thankful. I consider the work of Chris McGuigan and me a prime example how basic research in medicinal chemistry and virology has contributed to antiviral therapy. It’s been a true privilege to have been part of the developments that laid the ground for curative therapy of chronic hepatitis C.
Professor Ralf Bartenschlager, Heidelberg University

The Chris McGuigan Drug Discovery Awards and Symposium are made possible through a generous donation by Dr Geoff Henson.