Impact of Giving

UNB Grad researched complex processes that can help fight cancer thanks to fellowship award

Author: Development and Donor Relations

Posted on Jan 5, 2024

Category: Innovation , News and Events , Alumni Annual Giving

Marta Tomás Piqueras came to the University of New Brunswick to pursue doctoral studies in organic chemistry and now is involved in groundbreaking pharmaceutical research and development back in her native Spain.

Marta (PhD’23), attended UNB from 2018 to 2022 and received $25,000 from the Richard Langler Graduate Fellowship in Organic Chemistry.

Her research involved synthesizing iridium complexes with hydrogen-bond ligands. The iridium complexes are a class of organometallic compounds with applications in biology and life science. Their specific biological behavior makes this class of compounds useful in broader areas of life science such as imaging, sensing and therapy.

Iridium materials show effective anti-cancer behaviour while also being highly luminescent in the biological environment giving rise to new therapeutic and diagnostic materials in the toolbox for fighting cancer.

Marta, now living in Barcelona and working for a pharmaceutical company, said she first heard about UNB while searching for PhD positions regarding a specific area of chemistry in which she was interested. She said her years at UNB were rewarding in many ways.

“It was a crucial part of my academic life which helped me to become the person that I am,’ she said. “Thanks to the fellowship award, we got an instrument that facilitated my work at the lab and the research of my labmates.”

Marta said receiving the fellowship was an affirmation of her hard work and devotion to the great possibilities of organic chemistry.

“It is important to be recognized for all your hard work,” she said. “This award helps to improve your research, and at the same time, the research of your group.”

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