Kingston University Dean clocks up £12million for research

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By adam_leone | Wednesday, January 02, 2013, 15:21

The Dean of Kingston University's Faculty of Science, Engineering and Computing Professor Edith Sim has received a prestigious prize recognising her lifetime's work on drug metabolism.

Professor Edith Sim has devoted more than 30 years to researching enzymes known as NATs, which help the body absorb drugs. 

Her work has explored how different people vary in their response to the same drug and how this can have implications for the treatment of conditions such as breast cancer and infectious diseases including tuberculosis. 

Her work has attracted almost £12 million in research grants, much of it from the Wellcome Trust, and, over the years, has been aided by 40 doctorate students and more than 100 undergraduate students.

Receiving the J R Vane Medal from the British Pharmacological Society was a tremendous honour, Professor Sim said. "It's enormously rewarding to receive such an important acknowledgment of a huge body of research which has taken me and my colleagues decades to complete. 

The award is named after the late pharmacologist Sir John Robert Vane who won the Nobel Prize in 1982 for his work on prostaglandins – lipids involved in dealing with injury or illness.

Professor Sim is credited with knowing more about NATs – or arylamine N-acetytransferases enzymes – than almost anyone else in the world. 

Her research began in the early 1980s, when she undertook a clinical study into why the drug hydralazine, used to treat high blood pressure, caused a condition similar to lupus in some patients, attacking normal, healthy cells, tissues and organs. 

In the mid-1990s, she turned her attention to the effects of the potentially cancer-causing cells in hair dyes and dyes used in the leather industry, because they have the same molecular shape as hydralazine.

Again this helped to show which people were at a higher risk of developing problems, in this case bladder cancer.

Sim was presented with the medal and a £1,000 prize in a ceremony at Church House, Westminster, central London. Earlier she gave a lecture about her work to members of the society.



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