In 2018, Professor Adam Nelson visited Titus Salt School in Saltaire, Bradford, and Outwood Grange Academy in Wakefield. At both schools, Prof Nelson got the opportunity to talk to sixth-form Chemistry A-level students about some of the challenges associated with discovering new medicines for targets such as protein-protein interactions (PPIs). Addressing such challenges could translate into potential treatments for major societal disease.
An expert in his field of Chemical Biology, Professor Nelson enjoys the challenge and rewards of inspiring and informing the scientists of the future. His visit gave the six-formers the opportunity to appreciate the importance of key topics in the chemistry syllabus in real-life applications such as drug discovery.
During his visit, Prof Nelson demonstrated the importance of molecular shape when molecules interact (for example, when a drug binds to its target protein) using everyday objects such as musical instruments and sporting equipment. Adam was impressed by the enthusiasm of many students, and their willingness to apply their knowledge of chemistry in new situations. For example, some of the students thought about how it might be possible to synthesise molecules with control over 3D shape.