Welcome to a new entry on our series of interviews in the ChemComm blog! We want you to know more about some of the early career investigators who choose to publish their exciting work with us.
Next in this series is Dr Kamil Godula, from the University of California San Diego. Read the full interview below.
For me, it was my curiosity in finding out how the world around me works. My science teachers seemed to be the ones that had the answers to many of my questions and that had inspired me to pursue a scientific path.
I’ve always been intrigued by the ability of biologists, physicists and mathematicians to describe our world and try to pinpoint its fundamental principles. But ultimately, it was chemistry that captured my imagination for being a transformative science rather than a descriptive one. Becoming a chemist has allowed me to unleash my creativity and imagination.
How did you find out about ChemComm?
I became familiar with ChemComm as a new graduate student. Ever since, I’ve enjoyed the high quality of the research papers and the broad scope of topics that appear in the journal. Reading ChemComm is always a great way to gain a fresh perspective on and a new inspiration for my research.
What was the motivation behind the work described in your article? What interested you in this area?
My research team is interested in studying the role of carbohydrates in modulating biological events at the boundary between cells and their surrounding environment. The structures of these glycans, as they are called, can be recognized by protein receptors and many pathogens have evolved to target glycans to gain entry into their hosts.
What is interesting is the fact that the interactions of individual glycans and proteins are typically rather weak to be specific in a biological setting. To compensate for that, multiple copies of glycans are typically displayed by lipids and proteins found on cell membranes. My lab is interested in understanding how the three dimensional presentation of glycans on our cells affects the ability of influenza viruses to bind and initiate infection.
Once we gain a better understanding of these higher-order binding interactions between the virus and our cells, we may be able to design better drugs to fight influenza.
Why did you choose ChemComm to publish your work?
Our research is very interdisciplinary and involves carbohydrate and polymer synthesis, microarray platform development, as well as virus production and biological assays. At the same time, chemistry is always the central enabling science in all of our research. Therefore, ChemComm was a natural choice to publish our study.
Where do you see your research heading next?
Our microarray platform has begun to reveal very interesting effects of glycan organization on their recognition by intact influenza viruses. We are currently investigating how the initial binding of the viruses to the “sugar landing pad” on epithelial cells correlates with their ability to enter the cells and initiate infection. We are also expanding this platform to enable the discovery of more effective antiviral drugs.
If you could not be a scientist, but could be anything else, what would you be?
Definitely a jazz musician. Benny Goodman has always been my great inspiration; I’m fascinated by the complexity and beauty of his improvisations and wonder what it’d feel like to master the clarinet the way he did.
Did you enjoy Kamil’s story, or do you have your own memorable story about your first ChemComm paper? Tweet us @ChemCommun (#meetCCauthors) or reply in the comments below!
ChemComm fully supports researchers in the early stage of their careers, and remains the leading journal for urgent high-quality communications from across the chemical sciences.