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Category Spotlight: Chemical & Pharmaceutical Sciences

This category is for students of Chemical Sciences and Pharmacy, including Pharmacodynamics and Toxicology.
Students of Biology or Biochemistry please submit to Life Sciences

Entrants must submit an abstract of between 100-300 words long.

Word Count:  2,500 – 12,000


Last year's Global Winner, Phillip Karpati from the University of Sydney, penned a paper entitled "Selenium-Mediated Peptide Ligations At Proline- Proline Junctions"

In Phillip's extract he explains how in the last decade there has been a surge in the number of polypeptide therapeutics, approved for the treatment of numerous diseases, " meaning there is a need for technologies to efficiently access these biomolecules". The paper points out the limitations of current Native Chemical Ligation (NCL) methodologies and assesses the benefits of the "advent of thiolated and selenolated amino acids In Conjunction With Desulfurization And Deselenization reactions have Significantly widened the scope of NCL to include more naturally abundant amino acids". This revolutionary method has made it possible for ligations at the most difficult junction; the proline-proline junction.Undergraduate-Awards-Global-Winner-Headshots-7-of-21-Phillip-Karpati-745x497

This paper represents a novel way to synthesize peptides and ultimately lead to the first total synthesis of a peptide with therapeutic properties. This paper, in my opinion, is written at a near graduate student level.


Since submitting to the Undergraduate Awards in 2017, Phillip is now a first year PhD student in Chemistry working in the area of protein synthesis and its applications in developing therapeutics. He has completed a Bachelor of Science (Advanced) (Honours) where he went on to win the University Medal – awarded by the University Senate, before receiving the prestigious Westpac Future Leaders Scholarship.

 UA2015_headshots_0052-e1449154362850-150x150The 2015 Overall Winner in the Chemical & Pharmaceutical Sciences category was Ying Kai Loh  from Nanyang Technological University, with his paper "Capturing a Dicationic Phosphorus Mononitride Containing a P=N Double Bond"

In 2014, Ying Kai Loh successfully isolated a compound containing a rare B=O double bond and published it as first author in Chemical Communications. In 2015, he was first to capture the fleeting [PN]²⁺ molecule and published it as first author in Inorganic Chemistry.


Ying Kai Loh was awarded the prestigious A*STAR (Agency for Science, Technology and Research, Singapore) Undergraduate Scholarship to pursue his undergraduate studies in Chemistry at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. During his undergraduate stint, he was placed in the Dean’s list in Chemistry and the Chairman’s Honours List in A*STAR for two consecutive years. In his final semester, he embarked on an exchange programme with University College London.

We are really excited to see the incoming submissions to the 2018 Programme because of the top-quality research being completed by undergraduate students in this field. If you would like to find out how to submit click here.

If you would like to read any of the Global Winners papers or Highly Commended papers go to The Undergraduate Awards Library.