In Conversation With

This series of seminars are delivered by a variety of experts in Drug Discovery.  Topics include how industry and academia work together in drug discovery and a breakthrough for anti-malarial drugs.

We live in an ever more complex world. How can scientists and publics listen to and understand one another?  How can science and society function well together to make a healthier, happier world?

The history of how scientists and publics have communicated is long and winding. In the past, there was a notion that scientists were in a position of power, and should just tell people a series of facts.

As our body of scientific knowledge has ballooned in recent years, so has our understanding of this complex dynamic. More and more, scientists realise they have to not only communicate their research, but also listen to the public. This process takes a great deal of time and effort, and a new generation of Public Engagement Professionals have emerged. With varying skills and backgrounds, they can help to facilitate these 2-way conversations so that everyone benefits.

At this event we’ll be hearing from 2 of these people, Ali Floyd and Zandile Ciko telling us where they’re from, what they do, and some stories from the front line. With very different backgrounds from 2 continents, half a world apart, the event is bound to be an insightful adventure into the world of public engagement with research.

Chemists are present from the very first conversations about a target right through ongoing manufacture of a drug. But not the same chemists! Different skills are involved, and the focus of the process varies across different stages.

Enter our 2 chemists for this conversation. FRITIOF PONTEN is the CEO of Biotech Fluidics. Drug Discovery Unit alum CHIMED JANSEN is principal computational chemist at Mercachemsynom, a contract research organisation spanning the full drug discovery process. Both chemists, they work at very different stages of the medicine cycle.

We will talk through this process, and the interviewees will discuss what matters in their roles, what stage they come in and bow out, and how they overlap with the others. What makes a productive team, what do they need from one another? What has changed and what do they see changing around them? What do they think it looks like in the future?

For many the ‘pharmaceutical industry’ conjures strong images and emotions. Ideas around technology, testing and, perhaps above all else, money, can colour impressions. In this event, we’ll be taking a look behind the scenes with 2 researchers with special perspectives on the subject.

Professors Ian Gilbert and Kevin Read worked in academia and the pharma industry respectively, before both found themselves in academia. Why? What are the differences between the two sectors? What can they learn from one another and how, in the age of antimicrobial resistance and Covid, do they complement one another?

Join us to meet these two experts, find out about their fascinating journeys and discover more about this much-maligned yet vital field of research.

Malaria kills over half a million people every year, and the parasite is rapidly evolving resistance to current treatments. New ways of dealing with the disease are desperately needed, and innovative researchers at the University of Dundee just might have an answer.

Meet Beatriz Baragana and Irene Hallyburton, scientists from the Drug Discovery Unit. A medicinal chemist and a malaria biologist, they have the behind-the-scenes story of how a potential new medicine came to be found in Dundee. A tale spanning a decade and counting, it’s sure to be a fascinating look into the life of a drug discovery project.