31 January 2017 13:51

Lancaster University’s relaunched Chemistry department is celebrating the landmark graduation of its first PhD student.

David Townsend recently successfully completed his PhD, which looked at the effects of a key protein involved in the transport of good cholesterol in the human body. The research, which received funding from the British Heart Foundation, could form an important starting point for the design of drugs to combat cardiac disease. Dr Townsend’s work also looked at the effects of compounds found in green tea, and their ability to affect the protein.

Dr Townsend studied Biochemistry for his undergraduate degree at Liverpool but decided to follow his supervisor Professor David Middleton, who had joined Lancaster’s newly-created Chemistry department.

“The quality of the academic staff Lancaster were recruiting, and the funding they were putting into equipment meant that I felt it would be the best place for me to carry out my research,” said Dr Townsend. “I also quite liked the idea of being one of the first of a new generation of chemists to graduate from Lancaster.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time working at Lancaster’s Chemistry department,” he said. “The advice and support readily offered by some of the leading specialists in their field has been a huge asset, and something that I feel only occurs in a unique situation, such as an ambitious department setting up from scratch.”

Dr Townsend, who is originally from Lancaster and attended the city’s Our Lady’s Catholic College, has started working in the department as a research associate on a two-year project looking at cardiac proteins also funded through the British Heart Foundation.

Professor Peter Fielden, Head of Chemistry, said: “This is a very significant first for our department and a demonstration that our research school is fully operational. I am delighted that David is now ‘Dr Townsend’ – a very well-deserved achievement. I’m certain that David has set the trend for the future, and we’ll see significant and growing numbers of high quality PhD graduates from the Chemistry Department.”

Lancaster’s Chemistry department was reinstated in 2012 and the university has invested £26 million into providing cutting-edge facilities and recruiting world-leading chemists.

More information about postgraduate study at Lancaster’s Chemistry department can be found by visiting http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/chemistry/postgraduate/