TSP Project Feature: Andrew Giltrap
Attracted by the opportunity to take part in real experimental research in organic chemistry, Andrew Giltrap completed two TSP projects in his second year in the School of Chemistry.
“My two TSP projects were both pieces of experimental scientific research carried out in the organic chemistry labs,” said Andrew.
“The first project was in semester 1 and I carried this out under the supervision of Professor Kate Jolliffe. This project involved work on the chemical synthesis of an analogue of a molecule called Sansalvamide A. Sansalvamide A was found to possess anti-cancer activity and the entire project was focused on making analogues to see if any possessed greater anticancer activity,” explained Andrew.
“My project fitted into a larger research endeavour carried out by the whole group, where I was responsible for making two analogues. I chose this topic because I was very interested in organic synthesis after studying it briefly in first year chemistry.”
He completed his second project in semester 2 under the supervision of Associate Professor Richard Payne.
“My second TSP project was a continuation of work which had been carried out in the same group. A commercially available anti-obesity drug called tetrahydrolipstatin (THL) had been found to inhibit an essential enzyme in the biosynthesis of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis cell wall – this bacteria is responsible for causing tuberculosis.
“Recognising the potential of this drug as a treatment for tuberculosis, the group was working on producing analogues which would hopefully be better enzyme inhibitors and thus make good anti-tuberculosis drug candidates. My project was to make a new THL analogue. This topic appealed to me because it was an organic synthesis project and I liked the idea of studying potential tuberculosis therapeutics,” said Andrew.
Both of Andrew’s TSP projects were extremely important in helping him choose chemistry as a major, as he’d originally planned to major in biochemistry.
“My TSP projects in chemistry helped me to change my mind and I decided I liked chemistry so much, I did a chemistry double major.
“The best part of both of these projects was being able to work in the lab and do 'real science'. I got to experience first hand what it was like to be a scientist, rather than just learning about science in lectures. I also got to meet lots of really nice people who I wouldn't have been able to meet otherwise,” said Andrew.
“I would definitely recommend taking part in the TSP to incoming students. I would encourage them to do it in whatever discipline they are interested in, as it gives you an insight into what research in that area is like, which is often totally different to lectures and labs. It also gives you the possibility to interact with the research staff and students, which you rarely get to do as an undergraduate.”