Phoom Charitana

"Thanks to the Nuffield Foundation and Professor George Fleet, I now feel more confident to work in a research group and I am sure that I will do PhD after my graduation."

Phoom Charitana spent Summer 2009 working with Professor George Fleet in the Department of Organic Chemistry at the University of Oxford. Working on a project entitled ‘Combating glycolipid storage disorders: chemical chaperones for the treatment of Tay-Sachs and Sandhoff diseases: towards specific inhibition of individual hexosaminidases’, Phoom spent 8 weeks as part of the Fleet Research Group.

Phoom Charitana



The Fleet Research Group has been working for several years, in collaboration with the Glycobiology department at Oxford, to design and evaluate specific inhibitors of individual heoxsaminidase inhibitors. The blocking of a specific α-hexosaminidase may prevent the trimming of a glycoprotein and provide a novel treatment for some cancers. Previously, the group had not been able to make inhibitors of any α-N-acetylgalactosaminidase. Phoom worked on the preparation of a compound which has turned out to be the first example with the required selectivity.

Speaking about Phoom’s work, Professor Fleet said: “Phoom made enormous progress in the 8 weeks of his project; he worked hard and extremely skilfully – he managed to achieve in his first 8 weeks in the lab as much as a good graduate student would accomplish in his first year.”

Phoom added: “This project has not only given me a rough idea about what Part II (the fourth year of my course) and PhD are like, but also improved my practical ability which is very crucial to my coming fourth year.”

Several publications are planned from Phoom’s project, and these will be posted here in due course.