The £1.5m Laboratory for Chemical Biology, which will synthesise new molecules to help treat diseases such as cancer and hepatitis C, is being unveiled today at the same time as the University is presented with a prestigious award from the American Chemical Society recognising Glasgow chemist Frederick Soddy’s discovery of isotopes a century ago.
The laboratory, which is being showcased at the University’s ‘Glasgow Chemistry Past, Present and Future’ symposium, is based in the University’s Joseph Black building. It contains state-of-the-art equipment which researchers will use to design and build novel molecules for use in more effective treatments for a wide range of diseases.
Work at the lab will be led by the University’s Chair of Chemical Biology and Medicinal Chemistry, Professor Robert Liskamp.
Professor Liskamp said: “I chose to move to Glasgow from the Netherlands last year because I knew that there were unique opportunities to undertake exciting new research here. “Glasgow is the only place in the UK where the expertise and facilities are available to completely develop a drug from conception to patient delivery entirely within the city limits. “The University’s links to centres of excellence like the Beatson Institute, the Centre for Virus Research, the University of Strathclyde and the Stratified Medicine Scotland Innovation Centre make the city the ideal place to develop new treatments for disease.”
The 500 square-metre lab is illuminated with natural light from a series of skylights which for many years were hidden behind a suspended ceiling. Professor Liskamp believes the open-plan design of the lab will foster easy collaboration between researchers.
Professor Liskamp added: “The investment in the lab is part of an ongoing effort to create a renaissance of chemistry here at the University. The School of Chemistry has produced four Nobel laureates over the years and we’re keen to foster a culture which will allow other researchers to reach the same level of achievement.
“The new lab is modern but retains many of the beautiful Art Deco flourishes from its late-30s original design, making it a vivid illustration of how the School is celebrating its past while concentrating on the potential for the future.”
The American Chemical Society’s Citation for Chemical Breakthrough recognises the achievements of University chemist Frederick Soddy, whose work on the chemistry of radioactive elements and discovery of isotopes earned him a Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1921.
Professor Stephen Clark, Head of the University’s School of Chemistry, said: “We’re tremendously proud to receive the Citation for Chemical Breakthrough for Frederick Soddy’s research. His work was brilliant and paved the way for countless future scientific achievements. “On the day we officially open the Laboratory for Chemical Biology, it’s tremendously inspiring to think back on the achievements of the past and to look forward to the research we’ll be undertaking in the future.”