Monika won the Leverhulme prize, awarded to the Best final year student on the Chemistry degree course graduating in 2017.
Monika chose a Chemistry degree as it was her favourite subject at A-level and she wanted to continue learning more about it. During the degree, Monika really enjoyed organic synthetic chemistry labs and working on medicinal chemistry research projects in her 3rd and 4th years, which was the reason why she chose to do a PhD in this area.
Monika’s PhD is in the field of medicinal chemistry and chemical biology at the University of Liverpool.
She is working on target deconvolution required for drugs against lymphatic filariasis and onchocerciasis. These drugs target an essential bacterial symbiont of the worm, Wolbachia, which leads to death of the adult worms - an important advance over currently used treatments.
The aim of the project is to make photoaffinity probes of the current Phase I and pre-clinical candidate molecules and identify their protein targets. Target deconvolution is planned to be achieved utilising chemical proteomics. This should allow to determine the drug’s mechanism of action, which could be employed in further optimisation and provide tools to study potential adverse effects and resistance pathways.