SCI Scholar, Arron Aatkar, presents his end of year report

7 October 2021

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 over 80 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.

Arron Aatkar was awarded an SCI Scholarship in 2020. At the end of their first year, SCI Scholars present an end of year report to SCI. Read on to find out more about what Arron has done in his first year as an SCI Scholar.

SCI Ambassador - Aaron Aatkar"I would like to thank SCI for this generous scholarship, and for providing me with a wealth of opportunity to develop both as a scientist, and as a diverse individual. The support offered will be invaluable to my career.

"My PhD research is being carried out as part of the GSK/University of Strathclyde Collaborative PhD Programme. This has allowed me to explore cutting-edge science in an applied industrial environment. The focus of my work has involved the use of fragments containing sulfur(VI) fluorides for the covalent capture of protein-ligand interactions. I have developed a high-throughput approach for the synthesis of chemical libraries, screened these against various protein targets of therapeutic interest, and used the hits as tool compounds to explore these targets further. We are currently preparing a manuscript for publication which I am excited to share in the near future.

"I was delighted to be awarded this SCI Scholarship in June 2020. It has been an interesting experience tackling the normal challenges associated with a PhD alongside the additional stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, being unable to travel to site or to conferences was particularly frustrating. However, I was able to use the SCI Scholarship to fund a DataCamp subscription to learn how to code – this enabled me to continue my project whilst working from home and has allowed me to explore avenues in my project that I may have not otherwise looked at.

"SCI has also benefited my PhD by offering many events of interests, both directly implicated in my field, as well as covering broader topics of interest. I’ve had the opportunity to watch the online webinar series, and was fortunate enough to win the audience prize at the 8th National Retrosynthesis Competition. I’ve also presented my work at the SCI College of Scholars and Postgraduate Showcase, where I was able to learn from other students about their research, and was incredibly grateful to receive a poster prize for my presentation.

"In the latter portion of my PhD, I look forward to continuing my research in chemical biology and sharing my progress at further symposia. I am also particularly eager to get more involved with the technical interest groups and regional interest groups, where I hope to contribute more to SCI’s mission of uniting academia with industry."

Arron Aktar
PhD Student
University of Strathclyde/GSK

University of Strathclyde and GSK logos

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