Megan Lightfoot

"I would thoroughly recommend the scheme to anyone considering studying a PhD or a career in scientific research, particularly those who may harbour some uncertainties."

Megan investigated light activated molecules that protect against UV induced skin damage to skin cells. Lasting damage from sunburn is caused by the release of labile iron within skin cells. Treatment using iron chelators is possible, but long term use depletes essential systemic iron. Currently, we have prototype UV light activated iron chelators that are only released in a harm and UV-dose dependent manner. Improving the design and performance of these compounds towards clinical use was the key aim of this project. Working to create a next-generation product for use in sun creams, Megan Lightfoot spent 8 weeks with Dr James Dowden at the University of Nottingham on her bursary placement.

Megan produced some interesting results, and significant progress was made towards completing synthesis of the second-generation photo-cleavable group. Dr Dowden said that the significant successes that Megan achieved provided useful insights into the synthesis of the second generation caging group, which will be valuable for future efforts of my research group.

About to go into her fourth year of university, Megan said: 

"This opportunity has been very encouraging, and my confidence as a chemist has increased as I have worked on my own project with the support and guidance of a knowledgeable research team. I have learnt new techniques and developed new skills that will give me a head start in my fourth year project."

Since making this comment, Megan has obtained a first class degree, and is hoping for a job in the drug discovery section of a pharmaceutical company.