2009 Nuffield Foundation Undergraduate bursary student Sam Timson

In Summer 2009, at the end of his 2nd year in the Leicester Chemistry Department, Sam Timson was awarded a Nuffield Foundation research bursary to join Max Ryadnov’s group. Sam was involved in a project aiming at the generation of a new type of biomaterials – antimicrobial matrices. His main tasks were:

  • to chemically synthesise small proteins that would assemble into nanostructured fibrilliar networks
  • to explore ways to render these antimicrobial.

The project relied upon a number of scientific approaches combining microbiology, electron microscopy and molecular biophysics.

Speaking about his project, Sam said: "It has been an eye-opening experience. One thing to study chemistry from textbooks and laboratory practicums and another is to work in an intensive research environment with new discoveries in your hands. Being a part of Max’s group was truly inspiring, and I think I did well. I have learnt so much that it may take me another year to digest all I came across in the project. But one thing for me is now absolutely clear – I want to take a step further after my graduation and aim to do a PhD."

Commenting on the project and work Sam undertook, Dr Max Ryadnov added: "This bursary scheme has proved to be quite a neat idea for us. Based on Sam’s performance and enthusiasm, I can see the scheme as a very effective mechanism for spotting new talents and supporting them at early stages of their careers. Seeing Sam’s eagerness to learn and to succeed was also a good boost for the group and our research as a whole. Thanks to the Nuffield Foundation it has been a very valuable and enjoyable experience. I am confident about Sam’s bright future."

Sam’s contribution has led to two research papers with one just been published in the flagship Journal of the American Chemical Society, JACS.