National recognition for UofG laboratory

The University of Glasgow’s Medicinal Chemistry and Chemical Biology Laboratory has been named as one of the best in the country in a national competition.

Representatives from the School of Chemistry picked up the top prize in the 2015 S-Lab awards’ Refurbished Laboratory category at a ceremony at the University of Leeds on Wednesday 16 September.

The S-Lab awards recognise excellence in laboratory design, operation and management in all sectors that creates improved performance whilst maintaining – and ideally enhancing - safety and sustainability.

The Medicinal Chemistry Laboratory, housed within the University’s Grade A-listed Joseph Black Building, is a 500 square-metre space which consolidates smaller units into a bright and airy open plan organic synthesis lab.

Research in the lab is directed towards the creation of synthetic molecules, which can be used for obtaining valuable insights to diseases such as cancer, hepatitis C and other infectious diseases. The group research focuses on the development of molecules that mimic parts of the proteins that can be used for the preparation of new therapeutic drugs and synthetic vaccines against HIV, influenza, malaria and ebola.

Dr Susan Gannon and Graham Tobasnick from the School of Chemistry attended the awards ceremony.

Mr Tobasnick said: “We’re very pleased to have been chosen as the winner in the Refurbished Laboratory category.

“This refurbishment is significant because it had to fit and comply with strict Grade A listed status, presenting significant challenges to the project and requiring Historic Scotland approval. This process has shown that it is possible for modern science to be conducted in a building of this type, and as such will be the blueprint for future refurbishment of the Joseph Black Building.

“The resulting design has led to the space being returned to almost its original design of a large airy space suitable for 21st century science, with a host of sustainable features including the re-instatement of original (now double glazed) north lights, which allow natural light to permeate the lab with little or no solar gain, while enhancing the atmosphere and increasing productivity.”

First published: 17 September 2015