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Caitlin Clunie-O'Connor

BHF CRE Cardiovascular Medicinal Chemistry Graduate Student

Project Title:  Utilising high throughput screening techniques to identify small molecule activators of the epicardium

Supervisors: Professor Paul Riley & Prof Angela Russell

Biography

My first degree was Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry from the University of Manchester. For my masters project I worked on synthesising analogues of a natural alkaloid colchicine which was of interest as a potential inhibitor of tumour angiogenesis. This sparked my interest in the application of chemistry to medicinal sciences.

My interest in the BHF program was sparked by the opportunity to embark upon an interdisciplinary DPhil project that combined both chemical and biological aspects. I did two rotations one with Angie and one with Chris Schofield. The project with Chris focused on synthesising inhibitors of an enzyme that was thought to be linked with obesity. 

I chose my DPhil project because I was interested in stem cells and stem cell therapies - I was also interested in phenotypic/high throughput screening. In this project I worked towards the development of a high throughput-screening assay, which will be used to identify small molecule activators of the human adult epicardium. The epicardium is a mesothelial layer covering the surface of the heart and is widely regarded to be a population of resident progenitor cells; the group hopes to determine whether the epicardium can provide a source of cells for regenerative therapies in cardiovascular disease.

Undergraduate degree: Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry, University of Manchester

Studentship dates:  2012 intake.  October 2012 – September 2016