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Professor Barry Potter with one of the synthetic messenger molecules designed at Bath
Professor Barry Potter with one of the synthetic messenger molecules designed at Bath
Complex of a synthetic messenger with a cell signalling enzyme and its structure solved by X-ray crystallography
Complex of a synthetic messenger with a cell signalling enzyme and its structure solved by X-ray crystallography

Internal News - 07 July 2008

Professor Barry Potter wins Royal Society of Chemistry Chemical Biology Medal

Professor Barry Potter, from the Department for Pharmacy & Pharmacology, has won the 2007 Royal Society of Chemistry Award & Medal in Chemical Biology.

Professor Potter won the award for "outstanding contributions to fundamental and applied research at the chemistry-biology interface".

Through this industrially sponsored award series, the Royal Society of Chemistry “bestows the highest accolade on members of the chemical science community”.

The award, which is presented every two years, is judged upon published work and the results of the 2007 award were announced last month.

Chemical Biology is an evolving scientific discipline spanning the fields of chemistry and biology that involves the application of chemical techniques and tools, often molecules produced through synthetic chemistry, to the study and manipulation of biological systems.

It is one of many interfacial sciences that are characteristic of a general trend away from older, reductionist fields toward those whose goals are to achieve a description of scientific holism. It has historical and philosophical roots in many areas, including medicinal chemistry and pharmacology.

Chemical biology is often difficult to encapsulate, but has been defined as “both the use of chemistry to advance a molecular understanding of biology and the harnessing of biology to advance chemistry”.

This award covers the development and application of new chemical tools that advance our understanding of chemical biology processes, especially in the areas of the biomedical sciences, and is based upon Professor Potter’s long-standing Wellcome Trust-funded work on molecules that carry messages in cells, so called “second messengers”, particularly those that signal within cells by raising intracellular calcium levels.

Professor Potter said: “Over the years my research group has designed and synthesized a wealth of new molecules that have been exploited often in international collaborations with biologists”.

The RSC Chemical Biology Award, sponsored by UCB-Celltech, is awarded biannually and consists of a silver medal along with a prize of £500.

Professor Potter added “I am truly delighted to be honoured in this fashion. However, this award primarily testifies to the hard work and the very high quality of many current and past students and postdoctoral colleagues who have worked with me in this area over some 20 years and with whom it has been a true privilege to be associated”.

Professor Potter will receive his medal and prize at the RSC General Assembly in Birmingham in November.

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