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Introducing Kay Yeung, SCI Scholar

Kay Yeung

12 Jul 2016

For over thirty years, SCI has supported and recognised the excellence of early career people, by aiding their studies in the form of an SCI Scholarship.

Since 1985 ca.70 scholarships have been awarded which have not only given the recipients financial assistance, but have enabled them to broaden their network and strengthen their skills and knowledge. SCI Scholars receive access to publishing and mentoring opportunities and are given a platform to present their work amongst esteemed scientists and industrialists, thus raising their profile within the scientific community. In the past nine years alone, SCI has generously bequeathed over £115,000 of its charitable funds to SCI Scholars and the scientists of the future.

Kay Yeung was awarded an SCI Scholarship in 2016. Here, she tells us about herself and her research project.

‘In 2011, I started my undergraduate MChem studies at The University of Manchester as a winner of the John Nugent Scholarship 2011-2015, sponsored by The Stamford Group, and a recipient of the Manchester Success Scholarship. My passion for scientific research with medicinal relevance developed throughout my degree and it became clear that I wanted to utilise my knowledge and skills within the pharmaceutical industry, to play a part in improving healthcare and thus the quality of people's lives. My determination successfully led to an offer of a 12-month industrial placement at one of the UK largest pharmaceutical companies, AstraZeneca.

‘Working within the Oncology Drug Discovery unit at AstraZeneca, Alderley Edge, was a memorable experience that allowed me to gain a deeper insight into the drug development process. The placement enabled the development of my practical skills on a day-to-day basis through the synthesis of various target compounds, which were tested against target enzymes of importance to cancer research. My contribution has resulted in being a named author on a publication: Ward et al., J. Med. Chem., 2015, 58, 4790-4801.

‘Following this placement, which I undertook during the third year of my studies, I returned to the University in 2014 to complete the final year of my degree. In my Master's research project, I chose to work under the supervision of Prof David Procter and our successful development of a novel method to synthesise homoallylic amines via copper-catalysed borylative allylation of imines led to a publication: Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2016, 55, 1102-1107.

‘I graduated with a 1st class honours Masters degree in Chemistry in July 2015 and was awarded 2 prizes: The University of Manchester Outstanding Academic Achievement Award and The School of Chemistry Roger Grice Award for The Best Chemist in Fourth Year. I undertook a summer internship at AstraZeneca, Cambridge, to develop synthetic methods for a novel heterocyclic core that has known activities against a range of kinase targets, before commencing my EPSRC-funded DTG PhD studentship, continuing under the supervision of Prof David Procter and supported in the form of a President's Doctoral Scholar Award.

‘My current research project involves the development of a novel, efficient catalytic method for the enantioselective synthesis of amines, which are versatile organic building blocks that can have direct application in industry. The synthesis that we have developed allows rapid construction of organic frameworks from simple achiral starting materials and, with anticipation, could open up new avenues in synthetic organic chemistry.’

Kay Yeung,
University of Manchester, SCI Scholar 2016-18

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