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 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 my PhD and postdoc were in the field of predicting skin sensitisation. My main focus was in silico modelling of various kinds, principally DFT 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 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.
Searching for a role in which I could continue developing computational techniques to work out how chemicals behave in the body, 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 our alerts for skin sensitisation (amongst other toxicological endpoints and metabolic processes), and part of my time developing novel in silico (e.g. quantum mechanics-based) models and working out ways that we may be able to include them and other novel theoretical approaches into our products (which could be refining the scope of a reactivity-dependent Derek alert for which the data is sparse, or deciding between possible mechanisms for Zeneth or Meteor transformations).
Outside the office, you’ll probably find me either behind a camera or 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), and often both at once! I also enjoy cooking, board games, listening to and making music - I sing bass and play the oboe.