Congratulations to School of Chemistry PhD Student Craig Steven, who has won two prestigious RSC prizes recently and also has written a chapter in a newly published book.
Craig is based in the research groups of Professors Alison Hulme from the School of Chemistry and Valerie Brunton from the Cancer Research UK Edinburgh Centre.
His research involves the use of stimulated Raman scattering (SRS) imaging to evaluate drug biodistribution. The project is highly multidisciplinary, combining synthetic organic and bioorthogonal chemistry, cancer cell biology, and biological imaging to probe drug behaviour. SRS is a particularly interesting imaging modality as it is relatively new within chemical biology and allows us to obtain a comprehensive overview of drug action at a subcellular level.
The first conference was the ‘Bringing Chemical Biology to Cancer Research’ meeting, organised by the RSC Chemical Biology and Bioorganic Chemistry (CBBG) group and the British Association for Cancer Research (BACR). The event brought together researchers in different disciplines, with flash oral and poster presentations highlighting applications of chemical biology in the study of cancer. Craig won the Astex Pharmaceuticals Award for his flash presentation entitled ‘Intracellular Evaluation of Clinically-Relevant Anti-Cancer Therapies Using Stimulated Raman Spectroscopy’. This conference was a great opportunity for Craig to share his own research, whilst also highlighting Raman imaging work carried out by colleagues in the Hulme group.
Craig also presented at the 15th RSC Biological and Medicinal Chemistry Symposium for Postgraduates 2021, a webinar comprising oral and poster presentations from PhD students and postdoctoral researchers. His poster on ‘Design, Synthesis, and Cellular Imaging of Fsp3-Inspired Bioorthogonal Probes for Stimulated Raman Spectroscopy’ featured some of his recent work using medicinal chemistry concepts to improve the design of Raman-active tags for tracking drugs in cells. The judging committee awarded him the runner-up prize for his poster and invited him to return in person as a guest to an upcoming RSC conference.
I am delighted to have won these awards. Both conferences were fantastic opportunities to meet other researchers working in the chemical biology and medicinal chemistry fields. As I progress further in my PhD, it is great to learn that my research is being well received within the scientific community.
To top 2021 off Craig also wrote a chapter in the book ‘Stimulated Raman Scattering Microscopy: Techniques and Applications’, which was published in December 2021. It’s Chapter 27: Use of SRS microscopy for imaging drugs, and is directly related to his PhD project.