Manchester researcher wins Libyan award

Abdul Gbaj, who is researching the pharmaceutical aspects of genetic and tumour sciences at the University's School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, received his award from the Libyan Minister of Higher Education, Dr Akeel Hussain Akeel.

"When he told me I had won this award, I was very proud. There are 5,000 Libyan Masters and PhD students across the globe, 1,600 of them in the UK," Abdul said.

"I was very lucky to come to Manchester. I have worked with many good people, very strong people, such as my supervisor Professor Ken Douglas and Dr Phil Edwards, an ex senior scientist from Astra Zeneca."

Professor Kenneth Douglas has also been commended for his role as Abdul's supervisor and for his guidance of other Libyan postgraduates over the years.

Abdul's research is in Professor Douglas' laboratory, which takes a multidisciplinary approach to the rational development of new drug leads, primarily in the fields of cancer and anti-parasitics, and in the application of modern medicinal chemistry approaches to the rational basis of novel molecular diagnostics. The environment makes a fully integrated, multidisciplinary approach to biomedicinal problems possible.

One of Abdul's studies deals with the synthesis and evaluation of anticancer drugs. There are many clinically approved anticancer drugs, and new anticancer drugs in various stages of preclinical and clinical development. These drugs embody a diverse array of chemical structures, so a series of novel compounds was designed and synthesised to probe the active site constraints of the angiogenic enzyme, thymidine phosphorylase (TP). In work carried out in collaboration with Drs Sally Freeman and Mohammed Jaffar in the School of Pharmacy, Abdul showed that some novel compounds displayed good binding with human TP with an inhibition in the low nanomolar range.

Another study involves the detection of DNA mutations by a new type of technology. DNA det

Contact: Mikaela Sitford
University of Manchester

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