Pharmacy PhD student awarded Royal Commission Industrial Fellowship

Sam Wood
IMG-20201002-WA0005 (003).jpg by Sam Bourne
Research and new Kent PhD student Sam Bourne

Sam Bourne, a PhD student at the Medway School of Pharmacy and drug discovery researcher at LifeArc, has been made an Industrial Fellow for 2020 by the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851.

Set up by Prince Albert to organise the Great Exhibition of 1851, the Royal Commission has been supporting promising research in UK innovation ever since, with the aim of helping to maintain British science and engineering excellence.

The Royal Commission awards ten Industrial Fellowships a year worth up to £100,000 each, providing funding for fellows to pursue new areas of research, while strengthening collaborative links between academia and industry.

Sam’s Fellowship research will focus on improving the clinical translation of novel pain therapies, which are urgently required. By using large scale genetic data collected over two decades, genetic changes within ion-channels linked to pain will be identified and characterised. This will provide drug discovery tools that reflect patient biology and improve the development of new therapies. Sam’s work will focus on two-pore domain potassium ion-channels – proteins that are highly implicated in the process of pain sensing and have the potential to provide effective medication with fewer side effects.

The School’s Alistair Mathie, Professor of Pharmacology and Cell Biology, who has worked with Sam in the partnership with LifeArc, said: ‘Sam Bourne is fully deserving of this prestigious award from the Royal Commission and the University is delighted to welcome him on board as a new PhD student and as a colleague in advancing research identifying new pain relief therapies and mechanisms.’

Sam Bourne said of being awarded the Fellowship: ‘I am delighted to have been awarded this 2020 Royal Commission Fellowship and look forward to working even more closely with Alistair Mathie’s lab at the University of Kent’s School of Pharmacy. This area of research has the potential to make an important contribution to the development of new pain therapies, which are urgently needed in the clinic.’

The Medway School of Pharmacy is a collaboration between the universities of Kent and Greenwich. It offers undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, as well as wide variety of short courses for pharmacists, nurses, midwives and all allied health professionals.