A 2-day workshop sponsored by the MGMS Early-Career Workshop initiative was hosted at the Molecular Sciences Research Hub, the new home of the department of Chemistry, Imperial College London. The meeting, organised by Lara Martínez-Fernández (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain) and Javier Segarra-Martí (Imperial College, UK) brought together over 70 young theorists from 10 different countries worldwide investigating quantum states in molecular systems and their interaction with external stimuli such as photons, phonons and electrons. It served as a platform for the next generation of theoretical photochemists to gather and network, and highlighted the vast advances early-career scientists have made in the modelling of photoinduced processes. The great feedback obtained from all participants has triggered a follow-up meeting planned for 2021 in Spain and which we hope will become a yearly forum for young scientists in this modelling field.
To support postdoctoral and young independent researchers, and to remember MGMS founder member Dr Frank Blaney, the MGMS has established the MGMS Frank Blaney Award (formerly the MGMS Silver Jubilee Award). This is awarded to outstanding young researchers in the field.
The call for 2020 nominations can be downloaded here.
It is with great sadness that I am writing to let you know that Andy Vinter passed away yesterday following a heart attack at the end of last week. He was a font of knowledge and a highly respected scientist. He had a long history of involvement with the MGMS: He was the founder member of the Society when it was set up in 1981 and served as the first Chairman and remained on the Committee for several years following. He had many decades of experience in the pharmaceutical industry working in various organizations over the years including Beechams, Ciba, Maybridge, Wellcome and SmithKline and French. He was a visiting Professor at University College London and was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.
Throughout Andy’s career, he maintained a strong interest in both molecular recognition and molecular similarity, with a particular focus on how insights could be applied in the drug design area. His interest in electrostatics led to the development of XEDs, an improved empirical approach to representing the molecular electrostatic potentials and how they influenced interactions such as pi stacking. This, in turn, led to the development of novel field based technologies, targeted at viewing molecules in the way that they would be seen by their protein, or other macromolecular, binding sites. With support from the Wellcome Trust, Cresset Biomolecular Discovery was established in 2001 as a vehicle for further development and commercialisation of the software and intellectual property. As scientific founder, and Chief Scientific Officer, he continued his active involvement in the company’s science and ongoing development.
Andy was an inspiration to many people inside and outside the field. Our thoughts are with his wife and children at this very sad time. He will be sorely missed by all of us.
—Prof. Philip Biggin, Department of Biochemistry, Oxford
The recent MGMS Big Ideas for Big Data in Drug Discovery Meeting took place at the School of Pharmacy, UCL in London, and was a big success. A big thank you to MGMS Member Dr Ewa Chudyk from Vertex Pharmaceuticals for organizing it; to Dr. Shozeb Haider for hosting us; and our many sponsors for helping to make it possible. Ewa will post an update soon: in the meantime, here is a picture of our Chair, Prof. Phil Biggin, advertising our new MGMS Early Career Workshop Initiative: