Welcome Malcolm Walkinshaw, SynthSys, Edinburgh


Dr Malcolm Walkinshaw, of SynthSys, Edinburgh joins the VISICORT project.

Dr Walkinshaw obtained his PhD in physical chemistry at Edinburgh University. After post-doc positions in Purdue and Gottingen he joined the Swiss company Sandoz (now Novartis) where he built and led a successful 25 person strong ‘Drug Discovery Group’ which made important contributions to understanding the mode of action of immunosuppressive drugs like cyclosporin. On taking up the Chair of Structural Biochemistry at the University of Edinburgh he founded the ‘Structural Biochemistry Group’ which later became part of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Biology. In 2007 with funding from the Wellcome Trust and BBSRC he founded the Centre for Translational and Chemical Biology which continues to provide world-class facilities for protein production. One major research theme has been around the enzymes of the glycolytic pathway as potential anti-parasitic drug targets. This work has led to the development of potent nanomolar inhibitors that kill trypanosomal parasites quickly and can cure mice infected with Trypanosoma brucei, the parasite that causes sleeping sickness.  Walkinshaw has published over 250 papers and has over 9000 citations.

SynthSys, University of Edinburgh (SYNT), The Centre for Synthetic and Systems Biology is a research centre of the University of Edinburgh, UK which is composed of a multi-disciplinary team of experimentalists (molecular biologists, biochemists, chemists) and modellers (mathematicians, computational modellers, and software developers) working together to gain a better understanding of the nature of various biological systems. One component of SynthSys is the Kinetic Parameter Facility (KPF). This facility is a core experimental resource containing state-of-the-art equipment which is used to generate kinetic parameter data that is subsequently used to feed into mathematical models. Among the different experimental strategies, quantitative proteomics is a largely employed approach.

The main quantitative proteomics expertise developed in the lab is based on a label-free LC-MS/MS strategy which can be used with a wide variety of biological samples including tissue or fluid for biomarker discovery. In contrast to other quantitative proteomics approaches, the label-free quantitation enables a large-scale experimental design. Therefore, it allows for the comparison of large sample groups under various conditions.

SynthSys has an established collaboration with FIOS for large-scale data analysis and also has an on-going collaboration with research groups with specific clinical interests such the Centre for Cognitive Aging and Cognitive Epidemiology and Centre for Cognitive and Neural Systems. Over the past 5 years, SynthSys has successfully performed a wide variety of diverse quantitative proteomics studies.