ApconiX Welcomes William Humfrey

William Humfrey

ApconiX is delighted to welcome William Humfrey who joins the Acuity Target Safety Assessment team working with Professor Ruth Roberts and Dr James Sidaway.  Will studied for an integrated master’s degree in biomedical science at the University of Sheffield where he gained understanding of human health, disease processes and developed both practical and written skills.

Studying Biomedical Science

Will studied Biology, Chemistry and Economics A Levels (looking for something different from mathematics and physics, Will studied economics at A level and really enjoyed it) and went on to study for an integrated master’s degree in Biomedical Science at the University of Sheffield.

Will’s third year project “How excitotoxicity, inflammation and resulting cell death mechanism lead to brain tissue damage after acute ischaemic stroke and the clinical potential of drugs to ameliorate this” involved intensive searching and reviewing appropriate literature.  Originally the project was going to involve collecting data from patients at local hospitals but unfortunately this aspect of the project couldn’t go ahead because of the pandemic.

Will’s final year research project was titled “Elucidating the role of the M protein in regulating the trafficking of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein”. The aim was to further understand the viral trafficking mechanisms within SARS-CoV-2. Using immunofluorescent staining assays to visualise protein interaction in HeLa cells, and by inducing various truncations/mutations in the proteins it was possible to determine which domains were responsible. The most significant outcome from the project was finding that a specific residue in the C-terminal domain of the M protein plays an essential role in the trafficking of the Spike protein.

Working at ApconiX

Will particularly enjoyed carrying out literature reviews at University and although found laboratory work interesting, found non-bench research more appealing. Furthering his understanding of biomedical science and drawn to bioinformatics and the toxicology of pharmaceutical drugs, Will felt that the Target Safety Biologist position advertised by ApconiX fitted perfectly.

As part of his training, Will is currently supporting ApconiX’s Target Safety Assessment production process by analysing and formatting bioinformatics data for inclusion into the reports. He is also helping to develop science and capability that will further enhance the productivity and quality of the Target Safety Assessment process.

James commented “We are very happy to welcome Will to the ApconiX TSA team. He is already proving to be a valued member of the team.”

Voluntary and Work Experience

Will went to Gambia for a week during Sixth Form having raised money to renovate a school there. Will joined the University of Sheffield Rugby League team, helping them reach the northern Universities tournament final and beating Sheffield Hallam in the highly anticipated ‘Varsity’ match. He was also heavily involved in fund raising with the Rugby club for cancer and teenage mental health charities. His favourite charity activity was completing the Yorkshire 3 Peaks 26km hike for the Steve Prescott Foundation.

Interests Outside Work

A keen sportsman, Will plays football (Rugby League teams not being available this far south!), was a competitive swimmer and is a keen mountain biker, completing the 180km coast to coast route from Carlisle to Newcastle in 4 days as part of his Gold Duke of Edinburgh award