One hundred years after chemistry was established at UQ, Professor Chris Abell, of the University of Cambridge, has delivered the annual public lecture named in honour of foundation chemistry professor, Bertram Dillon Steele.
The lecture, which took place at UQ's St Lucia Campus on 30 March, was attended by staff, students and friends of the School of Chemistry & Molecular Biosciences and was a highlight of SCMB’s contributions to The University's Centenary year.
Professor Abell's lecture was entitled "Fragments-Based Approaches for Drug Discovery and Chemical Biology", and it explained the ideas behind a revolutionary method of drug discovery.
The approach uses X-ray based fragment-based methods to identify small molecules that weakly bind to the target protein, and then to systematically grow them to increase potency and specificity.
Audience members heard how Astex Therapeutics, co-founded by Professor Abell and colleagues, has been successful not just in its scientific endeavours, but in deriving financial value from them.
The multiple collaborations of Astex Therapeutics with leading pharmaceutical companies collectively have headline potential deal value of more than US$1.8 billion.
The company is currently working on projects addressing a new generation of molecular targets in the areas of oncology and virology.
Professor Abell is the latest in a long line of distinguished international guests to deliver the annual Dillon Steele Lecture.
It recognises the contribution of Professor Bertram Dillon Steele, one of the four foundation professors appointed to The University of Queensland.
Picture: Professor Chris Abell discusses his work with an audience member prior to the lecture