Dr. David Ponting
Name: David Ponting
Job Title: Senior Scientist
I’m David and I joined Lhasa at the beginning of 2016, having undertaken a PhD at the University of Cambridge, with Prof. Jonathan Goodman (where I also studied for my undergraduate degree in Natural Sciences, specialising in Chemistry) and a postdoc at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden with Prof. Ann-Therese Karlberg. Both PhD and postdoc were in the field of predicting skin sensitisation. My main focus was in silico modelling of various kinds, principally ab initio (i.e. quantum-mechanical) models of the reactions of allergens with model peptides, as well as molecular dynamics investigations of the nature of nucleophilic residues in skin proteins. I also ventured back to the lab bench in a variety of roles, ranging from synthesis of test compounds to running LC/MS assays and even working with polymers and their mechanical properties. Selected papers from my previous work are as follows:
Bioactivation of Cinnamic Alcohol Forms Several Strong Skin Sensitizers Link
Epoxyalcohols: Bioactivation and Conjugation Required for Skin Sensitization Link
Peptide Reactivity of Isothiocyanates – Implications for Skin Allergy Link
Development of new epoxy resin monomers – A delicate balance between skin allergy and polymerization properties Link
Searching for a role in which I could continue developing computational models of chemical behaviour in biological systems, I was unsurprisingly drawn to Lhasa! Lhasa products, particularly Derek, have had a role in my research from day one of my PhD, and it’s great to work on them myself. My current role allows me to use both aspects of my previous experience – I spend part of my time working on improving Derek alerts – including of course alerts for skin sensitisation - and part of my time developing novel theoretical (e.g. quantum mechanics-based) models and working out ways that we may be able to include them into our products. This can be directly as a descriptor or in a more supporting role such as refining the scope of a Derek alert for which the experimental data is sparse or deciding between possible mechanisms for Zeneth/Meteor transformations.
Outside the office, you’ll probably find me either up a mountain (walking, climbing, scrambling or skiing - depending on the weather… having multiple National Parks within easy reach is a distinct advantage to living in Leeds) or behind a camera, and often both at once! I also enjoy cooking, board games, listening to and making music - I sing bass and play the oboe.