1st Annual Scientific Congress 2014


Hosted by the Life Sciences Research Network Wales, this will be the largest and most stimulating of events we have held since we opened in September 2013.

The Congress will begin at 9am on Monday 24th & Tuesday 25th November 2014, held at theSt Davids Hotel & Spa, Cardiff Bay.

We are inviting all those funded through the network to attend the full 2-day event. Whether you are a funded Research Associate or a PhD students from Cardiff University or one of our partner institutions, you will have the opportunity to showcase the progress made on your research activity to date.

All newly recruited PhD students due to start with us in October 2014 will also be invited to show their research plans in a poster session.

As well as Post Doctoral presentations and student presentations and a poster session, we will also be hosting a selection of guest speakers from the private sector and higher education.

If you have any queries about this event, please contact or telephone 02920 876501.






8th Biological and Medicinal Chemistry Postgraduate Symposium, Friday 12th December, Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge, Cambridge

Registration now open – go to

Closing date for abstract submission is 10th October 2014

The Biological and Medicinal Chemistry Sector (BMCS) of the RSC will be hosting its eighth postgraduate symposium for PhD students and postdoctoral workers researching in biological or medicinal chemistry and related areas. The event will be held in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Cambridge on Friday 12th December 2014. Researchers working in these areas are invited to participate. Registration will start at 9:00am with talks beginning at 10:00 am. The day will consist of 11 oral presentations (8 student and 3 keynote plus a Flash Poster section). Each 20-minute student talk will be followed by 10 minutes for questions. Throughout the day there will be keynote talks from industrial and academic chemists. A buffet lunch will be provided to accompany the poster session.


The BMCS judges will be awarding prizes to participants. There will be prizes of £300 for the best oral presentation and of £150 for the best poster. These will be celebrated at the end of the day. If you are interested in presenting your relevant PhD or post-doctoral work please submit a half-page abstract by 10th October 2014 along with your registration form. Those selected by the BMCS committee to give oral presentations will be notified by 14th November. Travel expenses will be reimbursed to speakers.


This event is FREE but all attendees should register as soon as possible and no later than by Friday 5th December


For queries and abstract submission contact Dave Alker at or


Online registration form:

The Minister for Economy, Science & Transport, Mrs Hart opens the Life Sciences Hub.

Representatives from the Life Sciences Research Network Wales attended the launch of the Life Science Hub on the 17th of July. 

The Hub is based in Cardiff Bay and aims to bring together academics, businesses, clinicians, professional services and funding organisations to drive economic growth within the Welsh life science sector.  Along with the £100m Life Sciences Investment Fund, the Hub aims to attract inward investment as well as nurture and accelerate the growth of life science businesses within Wales.

Pictured above is Dr Andrea Brancale from Cardiff University’s School of Pharmacy demonstrating an advanced modeling technology to the Minister for Economy, Science & Transport, Mrs Edwina Hart that can be used in development of the next generation of drugs.

The Life Sciences Research Network Wales are pleased to announce their latest calls for Projects and Platform Grants.

Round 2 Project Grants
Project Grants are specifically aimed at allowing academics to undertake highly speculative risky research with the ultimate goal of providing exemplification data to submit  major research applications.  These seedcorn projects  are highly flexible and the Network expects that the majority of projects will be less than 12 months in duration but will consider proposals of up to 24 months in exceptional circumstances.  Match funding is not a pre-requisite and applicants can apply for up to £50k for projects less than 12 months in duration or £100k for projects up to 24 months.
Click here for information on applying and application forms: Project Grants
Platform Grants
The Network seeks to support a number of assays or platform technologies in areas of drug development which would benefit researchers from across Wales.  Applicants are expected to  collaborate with other academics  and offer free access to a limited number of samples generated by researchers from across Wales.   Applicants can apply for up to £50k and whilst match-funding is not a pre-requisite, it may be important if the call is over-subscribed.
Click here for information on applying and application forms: Platform Grants
The closing date for both applications is the 17th of September 2014
The current 2 rounds for Research Projects and Platforms grants have now closed. We have received 45 applications for funding and will be making awards in early October.

Endeavour Award 2014: Welsh Natural Products Networking Meeting

Professor McGuigan attended the Welsh Natural Products Networking meeting on 26th June. The event was organised by Prof Luis Mur (pictured below, right, and with Prof McGuigan, left). The group consists of a multi-disciplinary effort to identify novel anti-microbials from invasive plant species and microbes from extreme environments, and aims to develop links with the commercial sector. The event was joint funded by the NRN. There were 40 attendees which included Welsh Universities and commercial organisations.

Harvesting invite

Luis and Chris             Luis

Round 2 Studentships


In March 2014 the Network launched the 2nd Studentship round. Some of the funded studentships include (PI and project title):

Prof Hoffmann,  Increasing the selectivity and potency of a novel anthelmintic chemical entity.

Dr Westwell, Radiosynthesis of 18 F-labelled pro-nucleotides (ProTides) for Positron Emission Tomography (PET) imaging.

Dr Moseley, Pharmaceutical evaluation of novel tiglianes as modulators of dermal fibroblast-myofibroblast differentiation, scar formation and fibrosis; and elucidation of their underlying mechanisms of action.

Prof Mahenthiralingam, Development of vietnamycin: a novel Burkholderia antibiotic targeting mupirocin resistant methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

Prof Mur, Identifying new antimicrobial drugs in microbes from extreme environments.

Prof Mur, Targeting natural products to counter the challenge of MRSA.

Dr Bugert, Biological evaluation of [L] ddBCNAs as novel cell-targeting antivirals.

Prof Allemann, An Innovative Approach to New Antimicrobial Drugs.

Dr Young, Structure-based design of human P2X4-selective small-molecule modulators.

Dr Pertusati, Diastereoselective Synthesis of Phosphoroamidate Prodrugs.


Newly Awarded Postdoctoral Projects


In February 2014 Life Sciences Research Network Wales launched a Postdoctoral project grant (fellowship) round. Project Grants are specifically aimed at allowing academics to undertake preliminary speculative research with the ultimate goal of providing the exemplification data to submit a major research application. The Network has confirmed funding to 11 research projects. These include (PI and title):

  • Prof Jiang, Evaluation of Transglutaminase-4 as a therapeutic and target and diagnostic tool in human prostate cancer.
  • Dr Bugert, Mechanism of action of [L] ddBCNAs as novel cell-targeting antivirals
  • Dr Prokopovich, Nanocarrier controlled delivery of antibiotics from acrylic bone cement
  • Prof. Clarke, Developing a stem-cell containing 3D culture model for pre-clinical studies of colorectal cancer therapeutics
  • Dr Gwenin, Optimising cellular uptake of enzyme/gold-coated magnetic nanoparticle conjugates
  • Dr Huws, Further prospecting and characterisation of novel antimicrobials from bovine metagenomes
  • Prof. Conlan, Nanoparticle delivery of epigenetic modifiers: a targeted approach for Endometrial Cancer treatment.
  • Prof. Dyson, Bacterial-mediated RNA interference as a new therapy to target advanced prostate cancer.
  • Dr Fallis, Multi-Modal Theranostics (MMTs) – Towards Personalized Cancer Therapies
  • Dr Cai, Targeting αB-crystallin (CRYAB): A possible novel strategy to impede triple-negative breast cancer growth
  • Dr Jenkins, Development of human liver tissue models for drug safety assessment.

1st Annual Scientific Congress 24-25th November 2014, Cardiff

We will be holding our First Annual Scientific Congress for our researchers on Monday 24th and Tuesday 25th November 2014.
All of our PhDs, supervisors, researchers and Board will be invited to attend. The Network will cover attendance costs.
We will invite all of our Jan 2014 Phds to present a short oral talk and any new students recruited in Autumn 2014 to present a poster. There will be prizes for best presentations.
We will also feature some international expert talks on aspects of drug development.
This will be an annual event and will move around Wales.