Alessandro Poma, a Cranfield PhD student, received a Bronze award last month following a competition in the House of Commons for the excellence of his research.
Alessandro presented his research on molecularly imprinted polymers to dozens of politicians and a panel of expert judges as part of the SET for Britain competition – a high profile event that rewards some of the strongest scientific and engineering research being undertaken in the UK. He was judged against 53 other shortlisted researchers’ work and came out top.
Working under the supervision of Professor Sergey Piletsky at the Centre for Biotechnology in the School of Health, Alessandro’s research focussed on developing innovative ways of producing molecularly imprinted nanoparticles as viable antibody alternatives.
Antibodies are proteins produced naturally by our body to fight bacteria and viruses – if antibodies do not perform well it can leave us open to infection. Researchers have managed to produce these molecules using animals and cells but they are still proteins and for this reason they are very delicate and can only be used in very controlled conditions. Cranfield have developed a novel way to create nanoparticles to work as artificial antibodies without the need to involve animals. What’s more these small nanoparticles are extremely stable and a good substitute for those situations in which antibodies do not perform well.
‘It was a wonderful experience; presenting the results in front of so many MP’s, scientists and other students like me’ said Alessandro. ‘I felt very proud and now look forward to completing my PhD and to continuing to investigate the impressive potential of this technology, especially for biological applications’.
Professor Sergey Piletsky, Head of the Centre for Biotechnology at Cranfield Health said, ‘Cranfield’s work in the development of ‘plastic antibodies’ has recently been highly regarded by Wellcome Trust and Royal Society, and I am very pleased that it has now received recognition from MP’s. Alessandro did an excellent job in presenting the scientific and commercial potential of our technology and his award is a just reflection of the effort and perseverance he has shown during his PhD study’.
This is just one example from Cranfield Health where academics and students work together to deliver high-quality research to help provide solutions to real-world health problems.
Cranfield University is a wholly postgraduate university and is one of the top five research intensive universities in the UK. Cranfield Health work closely with the world’s leading organisations; helping to develop the technology and techniques which have a global effect on people’s health and wellbeing. Our collaborations inform our variety of postgraduate courses; ensuring they meet the requirements of industry and making our graduates sought after all over the world.
Top six reasons why you should consider Cranfield for postgraduate study:
1) Extensive industry links with world-leading organisations such as Astra Zeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, Philips, Quintiles, Siemens and Unilever
2) Excellent facilities including purpose-built Health building with state-of-the-art laboratories and teaching facilities
3) Exclusively postgraduate university providing a professional environment in which to study.
4) Superb academic support with our excellent staff-to-student ratio
5) Excellent employment prospects with 93% of our graduates entering relevant employment or further study within six months of graduation
6) British culture in an international community with students from over 100 countries you will experience a host of different cultures, make friends for life and also improve your English language skills.
For more information about our postgraduate opportunities please click here.
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