63rd Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting in Chemistry

34 Nobel Laureates met young researchers from all over the world for the 63rd Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting in Chemistry. 625 undergrad & postgrad students from 78 countries were selected to attend. Congratulations again to Ross Driver (NUI Maynooth), Valerie Gerard (TCD), Tandra Ghoshal (UCC) and Daniele Lo Re (NUIG), nominees of the Irish Research Council who were selected to participate in the prestigious event after an intense international competition. The Irish Research Council manages the national process to nominate potential attendees and the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins is Patron of the initiative. Click on the video link for a full round up of news and events at the 63rd Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting.

The Researchers

Ross Driver completed his B.Sc (Hons) in Chemistry with Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the National University of Ireland Maynooth (NUIM) in 2011, finishing first in his class. He was subsequently awarded funding for postgraduate study through the Irish Research Council’s EMBARK initiative. Ross is currently pursuing a PhD under the supervision of Dr. John Stephens at NUIM in the field of asymmetric organocatalysis, that is, the use of small organic molecules to enhance the rate of a reaction whilst inducing asymmetry within the products. Asymmetry within molecules deals with the important concept of chirality in chemistry.  Chiral molecules in essence can exist in one of two forms, a left-handed and a right-handed form, each of which exhibit different biological properties. Chirality is of crucial importance within the pharmaceutical industry, a fact that is particularly evident in Irish society. Thalidomide was sold in Ireland until as late as the mid-sixties as a mixture of its left-handed and right-handed components, one of which eased morning sickness of expectant mothers, and the other which caused birth defects in the developing foetus.

Tandra Ghoshal studied Physics at Burdwan University, (India) and received a Master’s degree in 2002. She completed B.Ed. (Sc.) from Burdwan University, (India) in 2004. In 2009, she received her PhD in Materials Science at Jadavpur University, Kolkata (India) for her work on the synthetic methods and physical properties of nanostructured metals and metal oxides. She is currently working as a post doctorate in the Department of Chemistry, University College Cork and has just been appointed as a senior fellow at the University. Advances in nanoscience and nanotechnology have increasing impact on our daily lives.  Most prevalent is the development of modern computer and communication technologies where relentless device miniaturisation has enabled ever more powerful and energy efficient computing, higher capacity storage devices and portable electronics. Tandra is exploring how this can be done in a more cost effective manner.

Valerie Gerard graduated in engineering from Ecole Centrale de Lille (France) and then completed a Masters in Science in Medical Diagnostics in Cranfield University (UK). After working as a science and technology deputy attaché in the French Embassy in Singapore for a year, Valerie came to Ireland in 2009 to join Prof. Gun’ko’s research group in Trinity College Dublin and work on the synthesis and in vitro testing of nanoparticles for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Through the use of quantum dots, tiny particles that emit light assist in developing targeted chemotherapy with much reduced side effects. Valerie completed her Doctorate this year.

Daniele Lo Re received his MSc in Chemical and Pharmaceutical Technology at the University of Ferrara (Italy). He obtained his Doctorate at the University of Granada (Spain), where he examined the preparation and biological evaluation of iminosugars: a valuable class of compounds that can be used in the treatment of diabetes, Gaucher’s diseas and Fabry’s disease. In January 2011, he joined the group of Prof. Paul V. Murphy at the National University of Ireland, Galway as a Postdoctoral Researcher and is now working on the discovery of new drugs against Multi Drug Resistance (MDR), a phenomenon that has made many of the available anticancer drugs ineffective.