MIPS researcher wins poster prize in Slovenia

Monash PhD candidate Lisa Barbaro has been awarded a prize for best poster presentation at the European Federation for Medicinal Chemistry’s 25th International Symposium on Medicinal Chemistry in Slovenia.

The symposium, which is hosted biennially, is one of the leading medicinal chemistry conferences, covering drug discovery achievements in therapeutic areas such as autoimmune disease, infectious diseases, neurodegenerative disease and inflammatory illness. The conference brings together leading researchers and experts and encourages dialogue on possible new treatments.

Ms Barbaro, from the Medicinal Chemistry theme at the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS), was one of only ten recipients to win a best poster presentation award out of hundreds of entrants into the competition. She also received 200 euros as part of her prize.

Her presentation showcased her current PhD project, focused on the development of improved analogues of bedaquiline, used to treat tuberculosis. Bedaquiline is currently only used as a last resort treatment due to safety concerns. However, studies have proven that it has excellent activity against tuberculosis.

Ms Barbaro’s project proposes that a reduction in bedaquiline’s lipophilicity could improve the safety profile of its activity. Her research has led to the development of a new synthetic strategy towards analogues of bedaquiline with reduced lipophilicity through substitution of the quinoline ring.

“We have found that we can maintain potent activity through quinoline substitution with alternate heterocycles,” she said.

“This has allowed us to now examine the safety profile of these analogues in comparison to bedaquiline. The findings could allow for more wide use of bedaquiline as a form of treatment, rather than a last resort.”

The conference this year included discussion on first-time disclosures, accomplishments in medicinal chemistry and the influence of artificial intelligence on drug discovery. The conference is hosted by the European Federation for Medicinal Chemistry (EFMC), an independent association representing medicinal chemistry bodies across Europe.

Contact: Divya Krishnan

Phone: 0466 910 111

Email: divya.krishnan@monash.edu