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Andrii Gorelik awarded Wellcome Fellowship and Lincoln College Fellowship

The prestigious fellowships will allow Dr Gorelik to conduct high-impact independent research on the exciting topic of cysteine ADP-ribosylation.

Dr Andrii Gorelik of the Ahel group at the Dunn School was awarded a prestigious Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Wellcome Trust and The Jones and Anson Junior Research Fellowship from Lincoln College, Oxford.

Originally from Ukraine, Andrii received a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Biotechnology in 2014 from the Kyiv Polytechnic Institute. He then moved to the School of Life Sciences at the University of Dundee (UK) to complete a Wellcome Trust-funded PhD in 2018, establishing novel methods in the field of glycobiology under the supervision of Prof. Daan van Aalten. There he discovered an unusual cysteine glycosylation activity and harnessed it to dissect the functions of site-specific protein glycosylation. He subsequently undertook postdoctoral research in the field of chemical biology of protein modifications with Prof. Ed Tate at the Francis Crick Institute and Imperial College London. In London, Andrii uncovered a mechanism for the targeted elimination of cancers through the pharmacological removal of fatty acid modifications from proteins.

With the Sir Henry Wellcome Fellowship in Prof. Ivan Ahel’s group, Andrii will combine his expertise in cysteine modifications, biochemistry, and chemical biology to independently lead a project on cysteine ADP-ribosylation, an unusual type of protein modification linked to cancer and immunity. Andrii has established a collaboration with Prof. Sidhu group at the University of Toronto (Canada) for the protein engineering aspect of his work and will spend half of his fellowship developing mass spectrometry methods for the detection of ADP-ribosylation in Prof. Gygi laboratory at Harvard Medical School (USA).

Andrii said, “Very little is known about cysteine ADP-ribosylation but it is highly therapeutically relevant – a compound that reduces the amount of this modification on proteins is already in clinical trials for the treatment of cancer. The Wellcome Trust funding will enable me to explore this protein modification in detail, helping to discover its molecular mechanisms and potentially informing improved drug development”.

“The four-year Sir Henry Wellcome Fellowship will provide me with independence and will help me towards establishing my own lab focused on atypical protein modifications in the future. After pursuing research in the UK for almost eight years, I will now get the opportunity to experience a different research culture in the United States, as well as learn new techniques. I am grateful to the Wellcome Trust and proud to represent Ukrainian scientists”, Andrii added.

Shortly after starting his Sir Henry Wellcome Fellowship, Andrii was awarded The Jones and Anson Junior Research Fellowship from Lincoln College Oxford. Andrii said, “I am grateful to Lincoln College for this award with which I can get the full Oxford experience as a postdoctoral fellow. The best part of The Jones and Anson Junior Research Fellowship is the opportunity to network and meet people from different disciplines”.

Written by Josephine Groslambert (Ahel lab)