Dr. Emma Campbell: Sweetening Drug Research with Fluorinated Carbohydrates

Hi, my name is Emma Campbell and I am chemist from Scotland. I received my PhD from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, where I worked to design small molecule drugs to target a biological process called “RNA splicing” as a treatment for cancer.

Currently, I am undertaking research on using fluorinated sugars as drug candidates (e.g. PET imaging agents, or vaccines) under the supervision of Prof. Ryan Gilmour in the University of Münster. Carbohydrates (sugars) are a part of our everyday life and we metabolise sugars like glucose to give us the energy we need to get out of bed in the morning! But they are also really important for other biological processes like our immune system, or for signalling commands throughout the body. We want to harness some of these characteristics to design drugs to tackle challenging diseases and we are using fluorine to do it.

A fun fact about me is I am from a remote Scottish Island that requires a 3-hour ferry to get to! Fantastic surroundings for me as a child as we had a lot of freedom to explore the countryside and be exposed to so much wildlife, which definitely got me interested in science at a young age.