Marc Short


During Marc’s degree, he undertook an industrial placement year at GlaxoSmithKline in Stevenage (2017-2018). During his time at GSK, he developed an interest in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals, both for use in clinical trials and commercially in the clinic. Marc applied to the CP3 CDT to further his understanding of how particulate products are manufactured and to tackle industry problems related to the manufacturing process. Marc is interested in the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to optimise the process of taking a product from the lab to large scale manufacture, as well as the development of flow technology to improve manufacturing processes and enable continuous production solutions.

PhD: CatSD: Development of a Structural Database and Machine Learning Workflows for Catalyst Design

Computational approaches to structure-based drug design are prevalent in the pharmaceutical industry. The CCDC’s CSD-CrossMiner software allows crystal structure databases, such as the Cambridge Structural Database (CSD) and the Protein Data Bank (PDB) to be simultaneously searched in terms of pharmacophore queries. The user can create standard pharmacophore features to rapidly identify potential lead compounds, for example, or to highlight key interactions.

The design of novel metalorganic catalysts centres on identifying ligands that will provide the correct chemical environment around a metal site, as well as ensuring that the geometry of that metal site is conducive to catalytic activity. The underlying principles of the CSD-CrossMiner approach, based on identification of specific chemistries and geometries, is therefore well suited to application in this new area.

This project will improve our understanding of structure-property relationships in metalorganic systems and provide a basis for structure-based catalysis design methods.

Research Project(s) during degree:

  • Third year – Investigating molybdenum complexes of biologically relevant ligands with Professor Anne-Kathrin Duhme-Klair to gain an insight into their effects on the structure of molybdenum containing enzymes such as Xanthine Oxidase. Marc spent his time synthesising molybdenum complexes of sulphur containing compounds and Schiff bases, and analysing the crystals by x-ray crystallography, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and infra-red spectroscopy.

Industrial experience/placements:

  • Industrial Placement, GlaxoSmithKline, Stevenage Aug 2017 – Aug 2018
    Full-time placement with GlaxoSmithKline, working as a synthetic organic chemist. Marc spent his time in the Protein Degradation DPU working on the synthesis and development of novel proteolysis targeting chimeras (PROTACs) as an alternative to traditional small molecule inhibitors. This was based on using the body’s natural ubiquitin-proteasome system to remove disease causing proteins instead of functionally inhibiting them.

Outreach, training and other activities:

  • Supervising work experience students, GSK Feb 2018

Masters research project in year 1 of CDT:

  • ‘Assessing the impact of crystallisation process conditions on the bulk powder flow of API / API – like materials’ with Dr Tom Turner and Professor Kevin Roberts, Chemical & Process Engineering