Professor Barry Potter from the Department of Pharmacy & Pharmacology has been awarded a 2010 Interdisciplinary Prize & Medal for outstanding biological and medicinal chemistry accomplishments.

This prestigious Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) award recognises work done at the interface of chemistry with other disciplines.

Professor Potter has in the past won several specialist awards, but this is the first that formally recognises the overarching interdisciplinary philosophy of his work.

He will receive his prize at a special presentation evening in Birmingham in November as part of the RSC Annual Congress.

As part of his award Professor Potter, as an associated RSC Endowed Lecturer, will also take part in a lecture tour of selected UK universities in late 2010 and during 2011.

Professor Potter’s work in chemical biology focuses primarily on the discovery of new anticancer drugs and the chemistry of signalling within cells. His research has been underpinned by national and international academic collaborations between numerous different biologists, physicians, oncologists, endocrinologists, pharmaceutical scientists, and also extensively with industry.

A recent example of this was research work carried out by a Chinese postgraduate at Bath with colleagues in cell signalling biochemistry, neurobiology and cellular physiology at the Universities of Hamburg, Munich, Martinsried, Goettingen and Vienna.

This led to papers being published in the prestigious journals Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, and Brain. This work was partially funded by an Enterprise Development Grant from the University of Bath.

Professor Potter said: “Often the impact of such work is a very long way indeed from synthetic chemistry, but almost always this would simply not have been possible without our designed molecules.

“Interdisciplinary work throws up many issues beyond just the science itself and is often about human chemistry in the wider sense. Life scientists and physical scientists tend to have different outlooks and motivations and the challenge is to find like-minded colleagues, communicate well, understand in particular exactly what each side of a collaboration really wants and, wherever possible, to ensure that synergistic results are properly recognised to the benefit of all parties in published output.

“In this way one gets an outcome greater than the sum of the parts and a feeling of real and equal partnership.

“It’s always a great honour to receive a prize such as this, particularly one with such a focus and I want to pay special tribute to all close colleagues especially at Bath, past and present, who have worked with me in these areas and to all our biological collaborators over the years.”