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Royal Society of Chemistry

Dr David Pye, Scientific Director of Kidscan, and Subject Head for Chemical Sciences at the University of Salford has been published by the Royal Society of Chemistry. In his article, he assesses the effects on research of Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic, and considers what our priorities should be over the coming years.

Dr David Pye, Scientific Director Kidscan

Dr Pye explains his role at Kidscan: “As scientific director of Kidscan – a children’s cancer research charity operating out of the University of Salford – my role is to develop therapeutic treatments for cancer, and fundamental chemistry is absolutely key to this. But ultimately our aim is to bring these therapies into the clinical setting to treat patients – which can be a big challenge for many academics.”

The impact of the pandemic on our work: “COVID-19 has also had a hugely damaging impact on my field of cancer research. We’ve already heard about some cancer patients not receiving the treatment they need due to the effects of the pandemic but there’s also an immediate impact on research due to lack of access to labs and limitations on teaching. We are already seeing a squeeze in funding for research projects, which is going to have long-term effects as well. Most of the funding for cancer research comes from charities.”

The Bodmer Laboratory – the main multipurpose teaching lab at Salford University – set up with social distancing measures in place.

The Bodmer Laboratory – the main multipurpose teaching lab at Salford University – set up with social distancing measures in place.

But Dr Pye is taking an optimistic approach to the future of his work with Kidscan and the development of new, safer treatments for childhood cancer: “Science is riding the crest of a wave of good will at the moment, because of its role in tackling COVID-19 and because of recent technology advancements, so it’s time to build on that and inspire the next generation of researchers.”

“COVID-19 has changed the research landscape, but it’s not all bad news. As a university lecturer I have been teaching about DNA vaccines and RNA vaccines for 20 years – it’s always been something just over the horizon, and now in the last 12 months it has become a reality.”

“It’s extraordinary to see how fast science can move when it’s given sufficient attention and resources. Much of this vaccine development has been going on for years in the background but it wasn’t made a priority. How many other brilliant ideas are already out there that could change the world and benefit humanity if given the chance?”

Read the full Royal Society of Chemistry article here:

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