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Andras Solt wins Glover Research Award

last modified Oct 04, 2018 11:58 AM
Congratulations to Andras Solt on winning the Department’s Glover Research Award for the 2018-2019 academic year.

Andras is a postgraduate student in Nietlispach Group. He is now in the final year of his PhD collaborating with Novartis, having previously taken a year during his undergraduate degree in molecular biology at UCL to work as an Industrial Trainee at the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research in Horsham.

G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are key sensors of the cell and are implicated in regulating the vast majority of physiological processes. Andras' current work focuses on the β1-adrenergic receptor, which is involved in the regulation of cardiac contraction. Over the last four years, Andras has been working to understand the molecular signatures of receptor activation. As GPCRs function as highly dynamic entities, the Nietlispach Group use a technique called nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy in order to study them. Here, sensitive reporters are placed inside the protein of interest in the form of 13C-labelled methionine residues. NMR allows researchers to monitor radio frequency signals emitted by the nuclei of these labelled amino acids. As these signals are highly sensitive to changes in the local chemical environment surrounding the labelled residues, scientists can monitor fine structural changes that occur within the receptor as it carries out its function. In this way, Andras has established a platform for testing the effect activating ligands (agonists) of different strength (efficacy), and other interacting partners, have on receptor conformations and dynamics. This has given insight into receptor basal activity and partial agonism; processes which are interesting not only with regards to the β1-adrenergic receptor but in a wider context to other GPCRs too.

Speaking about the Glover Research Award, Andras said: "I have had the most enjoyable last four years working on my PhD project, and in addition to the findings we were able to publish so far, it has opened up other very exciting avenues of research. The generosity of the Glover fund will now allow me to carry on with this work. The funding will certainly make an impact in the form of results that contribute towards further publications and grant applications, benefiting me and the group as well."

Outside of science, Andras volunteers for a Hungarian non-profit Kerekerdo Egyesulet, specialised in outdoors education, where he has been an animals guide and camp leader.

 

The Glover Research Award is a three-year initiative from the Glover family, who attended Clare College, in memory of their father who was a Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Liverpool. The award allows a final year PhD student to continue working in our Department for 6-12 months to finish publications and prepare for their next career steps.

Image


Andras Solt in the laboratory.

Credit: Joanna Janus, Queen Mary University of London

Authors


Andras Solt and Rhys Grant

Publication Date


4 October 2018