Co Down scientist wins top chemistry accolade

Dr Sophie Harvey
Seanín Graham

A CO DOWN scientist has won an award for her groundbreaking research into a cancer-causing protein - that could help prevent deadly forms of the disease.

Dr Sophie Harvey from Hillsborough has been selected as this year's recipient of the Royal Society of Chemistry Ronald Belcher award.

Almost 50 previous winners have went on to win the Nobel prizes for their pioneering work.

Dr Harvey, who studied at Strathclyde University and did her PhD at Edinburgh University, investigated an essential protein known as c-MYC.

Despite being vital for life, this protein is implicated in the development of some aggressive cancers.

Judges commended the Hillsborough woman for her work in understanding the behaviour of the protein and how it reacts to other molecules, saying the findings could potentially prevent cancers.

Dr Harvey is currently working in a laboratory in the United States as part of a joint collaboration with her counterparts in Ohio State University.

A ceremony will take place in November to mark the achievement.

The award is given for work on an analytical topic by a current post-graduate of a British or Irish University.

Named after former University of Birmingham professor Ronald Belcher, winners are assessed on the originality and impact of their research.

Dr Robert Parker, chief executive of the Royal Society of Chemistry said: "It is always a pleasure to recognise excellence in the chemical sciences and I am pleased to acknowledge the illustrious achievements of our prize and award winners this year.

"Whether they work in research, industry or academia, our winners are the very best in their fields, and they can be very proud to follow in the footsteps of some of the most influential and important scientists around the world.

"In a complex and changing world, chemistry and the chemical sciences are vital in responding to some of humanity's biggest challenges and our prize and award winners are at the forefront of meeting that challenge."


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